a Vs. one

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Senior Member
1. Luckily, only a person was injured. = (incorrect)
2. Luckily, only one person was injured. = (correct)

Source: ABC of Common Grammatical Errors by
Nigel D Turton. Part 3 , a/an Use

Hello teachers,

As you know when we need to emphasize “how many”, we can use one. See:
Luckily, only one saucer was broken. (not two, three, etc) = Correct
Luckily, only a saucer was broken. (not a cup, plate, etc) = Correct
If so, then why number 1 is incorrect? If (a saucer) is correct then why (a person) doesn’t fit in number 1?

Many thanks in advance.
  • sb70012

    Senior Member
    Really? You mean the book is wrong?

    Ok but thanks for answering Rover_KE. Ididn't know that.

    You made it clear, thanks.
    I didn't say the book was wrong; it was pointing out the difference between 'Luckily, only a/one person was injured'.

    I was trying to answer your question by coming up with a scenario in which 'a person' could be correct. I needed to use additional words to make it meaningful, and I did say it was unlikely.



    Senior Member
    The difference is in what is being emphasised. If you use a person, you are emphasising on what has been injured. It was a person who was injured, not a duck or a goose or a tree. This is what Rover tried to show. If you use one person, you imply that people have been injured and the emphasis then lies on how many people have been injured - not two, not ten, but only one.
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