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    four synonyms of "one" / anaphorical = anaphoric+ical

    Dear teachers,

    I know that “one” represents four homonyms in English.

    The first one is a numeral, e.g.
    There was only one two-stored house in that district 40 years ago.

    The other tree are pronouns:
    1)one denotes an indefinite person and is used in an indefinite personal sentence.

    One must know grammar well, if one wants to be a good teacher.

    2)one may be equivalent to the indefinite article, e.g.

    One fine day they decided….

    3)one may be a pronoun and may be used in place of a noun to avoid repetition. This is called the anaphorical use of the pronoun.

    Yesterday we met your son and enjoyed the conversation with the little one immensely.

    There is a good illustration of the anaphorical use of the pronoun one in the text.
    “They want to see a flag”, the commander said slowly. “They will see one.”

    I know that anaphor (n) = a word (such as a pronoun) used to avoid repetition. It is all too obvious that anaphorical = anaphor + ical.

    Would you be kind enough to tell me whether the term in question is common in your area?

    Thank you for your efforts.



    • Join Date: Feb 2009
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    Re: four synonyms of "one" / anaphorical = anaphoric+ical

    Disclaimer: I'm not a teacher.

    Forgive me for taking you to task on a couple of points:

    • the senses of "one" that you cite don't represent homonyms. "One" is simply polysemous (it has multiple distinct senses). Homonyms usually have different etymologies, but all the senses of "one" share a single etymology.
    • "anaphorical" may be anaphor + ical, but the standard adjectival form of "anaphor" and "anaphora" is "anaphoric". If you Google "anaphorical", you'll see that a large number of the examples were produced by non-native speakers of English.
    • in a sentence such as "one fine day", "one" functions as an adjective (alternatively, it could be called a determiner, if your theory of grammar includes determiners).

    Your analysis of the senses of "one" is quite interesting. I had never thought about what a wide range of functions that little word performs. Thanks for that.


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