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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Hair - one or ones    

Hair - one or ones



LenkaW
Czech Republic

Hair - one or ones
 

Dear colleagues,

 

I´m not sure how to use the noun hair with the determiner one/ones. If talking about individual hairs found on the floor, for example, I replace the noun with the determiner ones (the black ones). Am I to use the determiner one when talking about the collection or mass of such hairs growing from the skin of humans in the uncountable meaning?

 

It sounds a little bit odd to me so I´not sure.

 

Thank you.

 

Lenka

9 Mar 2017      



Lafabrica
Spain

You´re right about an individual hair. "There´s a black one on the floor." "There are some grey ones on the bathoom counter."
 
I would use the same rule for the hair on your arm. "Oh look, this one is long!" - but in general it would be a collective noun.

9 Mar 2017     



yanogator
United States

Lafabrica s answer is correct, as far as it goes, but doesn t answer your question about the uncountable "mass" of hair, such as all of it on your head.
 
You can t use "one" or "ones" for that, and I don t even know when you would be considering it. Lenka, could you give us a sentence that would demonstrate the situation that is confusing you?
 
Thanks,
Bruce 

9 Mar 2017     



Gi2gi
Georgia

An extract from a male model s diary : " today I had laser hair removal. I paid a fortune to get the few black hairs removed from my chest. But alas, when I got home, my gf  yelled - "Is it a hair I see? I told you to get rid of each and every one! " In a fit of fury i jumped at the phone and phoned the beauty clinic to complain. The operator, who seemed used to such complaints, was calm and undisturbed. He did not turn a hair! His voice, monotonous as can be, replied : " Sir, we guarantee the removal of black hairs with enough melanin content. Red hairs as well as fair ones are beyond our capacity to remove. " Then he wished me a nice evening :(

9 Mar 2017     



redcamarocruiser
United States

I also cannot think of a situation for using one as a determiner (pronoun?) with the uncountable word hair.
 
If we were talking about wigs with different colors, we could say the blonde one.
 
If we were talking about haircuts, we could say the short one or the shoulder length one. 
 
If we are talking about a person s hair. I would say I like his/hers
"She has long hair" would translate to "hers is long" or "It is long".
You cannot say, "Hers is the long one" for "hair" although you could say it for "hairstyle" as in "I want the long one."

9 Mar 2017     



cunliffe
United Kingdom

Giorgi  That is so funny. 

9 Mar 2017     



Jayho
Australia

Interesting thread, and funny diary entry!
 
 
In response to OPs question and Gi2gis diary entry, how about this? Does it work?
 
Look at that male model over there. I can see a stray hair on his chest. He instructed the beauty clinic to remove a few stray hairs, his chest hair/ones,  but they could only remove the black hair/ones.

10 Mar 2017     



LenkaW
Czech Republic

Good afternoon,

 

thank you very much for all the useful and also very funny answers. The students in this group where the question was asked are adults, so I´ll print the sentences for them, I think they will like these funny exampes a lot.

 

Here are some more examples:

 

Your hair is long but this (?one) in the photo is even longer.

 

My hair is short but my daughter´s (?one) is long.

 

The word ONE in the sentences sounds odd to me, but is it really a MISTAKE to use it in this context? How to explain this problem clearly to my students?

 

Lenka

10 Mar 2017     



yanogator
United States

No, Lenka. If you say "but this one", it definitely refers to a single hair.
Your hair is long, but this in the photo is even longer. Or Your hair is long, but this hair in the photo is even longer.
My hair is short, but my daughter s is long.
No pronoun is needed, or even possible.
It s because of the uncountable nature. It works with water, too. This water is hot, but that is only warm. If you say "This water is hot, but that one is only warm", you must be referring to a glass or bottle of water - something that is in an individual unit and therefore countable. It makes sense, since "one" is definitely referring to something countable.
In a bakery, if you are referring to shelves of bread, it is "This bread is white, and that is rye". If you say "but that one is rye", it is referring to one loaf, not the whole shelf.
I hope that helps with explaining it. To sum up, you don t use "one", because that would be counting.
Bruce

10 Mar 2017     



Gi2gi
Georgia

Yep, to split hairs or not to split hairs, that is the question :) But one would normally use one for countables, as stated by the language gurus above.

10 Mar 2017     



LenkaW
Czech Republic

Dear colleagues,

 

thank you very much. I think I understand it now. The word hair in my sentences could be replaced with hairstyle, in fact, which would be countable and then the situation would be different, but hair in my example sentences is not countable, that´s why it sounded so odd. I could feel it wasn´t correct but I couldn´t explain the reason. It is a similar situation like the one with water meaning in fact a glass of water - thank you very much for this great analogy, Bruce. That´s clear now, the examples with hair were confusing - but now I understand it and I think I´m able to explain it with your examples to my students.

 

Thank you all very much for your great help.

 

Have a nice weekend :)

 

Lenka

11 Mar 2017     

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