poniedziałek, 4 listopada 2013

One of these days

I very often hear my Polish students introduce a topic by saying something like:

One of my teacher told to me ... 

We've got two errors here, but right now we're only going to talk about one.  The correct phrase in English is:

One of + plural countable noun.

So the phrase should be One of my teachers, using the noun teacher in its plural form.  We can think about this in several ways. 

I have many teachers.  I'm going to talk about one of them.  One of my teachers ... 

Or let's take a similar phrase in Polish.

Jeden z moich ulubionych miejsc ... 

In Polish, the word miejsc is in the plural form--plural genitive, to be sure, but still plural.  This is one of those rare situations in which the logic behind Polish and English grammar is the same!

Here are some examples of how people use this phrase:

One of these days, I'm going to cut you into little pieces (This aggressive example is from a Pink Floyd number!)

This is one of my favourite books.

Pollution is one of the worst examples of mankind's influence on the environment.

Are you one of those stupid people who throws trash in the street?

One of those children is my son.

(Here, we remember that some nouns - person/people, child/children - have irregular plural forms that do not end in s.)

It's one of those films that makes no sense the first time you see it.

Not one of them is any good!  or None of them is any good!  (note that we use a plural pronoun here, and in the second example we use none, meaning not one).

One of us is crying, one of us is lying ... (from an ABBA song)

Next time we'll look at the other error in the original sample sentence.

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