a <-> one (?)

Ranjith P V

Senior Member
India-Kannada
Dear WR,

Can we interchange the indefinite article 'a/an' with 'one' in any/all situations (except Idioms,Chunks of language & some fixed phrases)(It may sound odd, but grammatically can we do it)?

Example sentences

Mash the bananas to a pulp and then mix in the yogurt.
a pulp mill.
They don't have a car.
He went for/took a walk around the block.

Kindly clarify.
Thank you supporting.
 
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  • pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    Not really. "One" generally implies the possibility of more than one, and often changes the meaning:

    Mash the bananas to one pulp -- could I mash them to two pulps? Probably not, so I wouldn't say "one."
    They don't have one car - they have six cars.
    He took one walk - he usually takes two, but he hurt his leg on the first one.
     

    Ranjith P V

    Senior Member
    India-Kannada
    Not really. "One" generally implies the possibility of more than one, and often changes the meaning:

    Mash the bananas to one pulp -- could I mash them to two pulps? Probably not, so I wouldn't say "one."
    They don't have one car - they have six cars.
    He took one walk - he usually takes two, but he hurt his leg on the first one.
    Thanks for the clarification.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    When I am trying to figure out what article to use ["a/an", "the" or no article], I often change the "a/an" to "one" and see if the meaning makes sense. I think they are almost always interchangeable in general meaning ("He went for one walk.")

    But I don't use "one" in a sentence where "a/an" is normal. Sometimes it is incorrect grammar, and often it changes the nuances or implications (as #2 explains).
     

    Ranjith P V

    Senior Member
    India-Kannada
    When I am trying to figure out what article to use ["a/an", "the" or no article], I often change the "a/an" to "one" and see if the meaning makes sense. I think they are almost always interchangeable in general meaning ("He went for one walk.")

    But I don't use "one" in a sentence where "a/an" is normal. Sometimes it is incorrect grammar, and often it changes the nuances or implications (as #2 explains).
    Thanks for shedding light on the topic.
     
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