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    #1

    to

    Suppose this girl was the sole survivor of the fire. Would you interpret this sentence below as such?

    She was the only one to survive the fire.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: to

    Yes. I would assume there were at least two other people, who both died in the fire. However, there could have been 200 others, not just two. But more than one other.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #3

    Re: to

    So the one with the to-infinitive means the same as this?

    She was the only one who (had) survived the fire.

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    #4

    Re: to

    Yes, though I'd say stick with simple past, not past perfect.

    He was the only one to solve the puzzle.
    He was the only who who solved the puzzle. Same

    But you can't say "He was the first to solve the puzzle" and make that "He was the first who solved the puzzle." It works with "the only one" but not "the first one."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #5

    Re: to

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Yes. I would assume there were at least two other people, who both died in the fire. However, there could have been 200 others, not just two. But more than one other.
    If only one other person was involved and that person died, how would you state the OP's sentence about the one person who died?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #6

    Re: to

    With only two people in total, "the only" seems wrong, survivor or victim.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #7

    Re: to

    I used to live next door to a lovely couple, John and Sarah. One night, their boiler exploded and the house caught fire. Unfortunately, John was the only one to survive.

    How would you have written it?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: to

    Perhaps "but only John survived"?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #9

    Re: to

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Perhaps "but only John survived"?
    Ah, I thought it was the use of the word "only" that you objected to. However, it appears to be "the only one" that you have a problem with. I see your point. I don't entirely agree with it (just for once) but I understand.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #10

    Re: to

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Ah, I thought it was the use of the word "only" that you objected to. However, it appears to be "the only one" that you have a problem with. I see your point. I don't entirely agree with it (just for once) but I understand.
    I'm with you on this one. I have no particular objection to 'the only one' of two.

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