1. Thornesque
    Offline

    Thornesque Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2012
    Messages:
    456
    Likes Received:
    71
    Location:
    Michigan, USA

    Grammar "Not a one?"

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Thornesque, Oct 17, 2013.

    I want to knwo if this is correct. I hear people say it all the time (particularly an older crowd) and it sounds right when I read it in the character's voice, but I don't know if this is how it should be typed, or if I should skip the usage altogether. This is the excerpt it occurs in:

    Thanks in advance for any/all help.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,879
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    The 'a' adds emphasis, but I don't know if that is colloquial or universal. I believe it is still grammatically correct both with and without the 'a'.
     
  3. art
    Offline

    art Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    113
    Ginger has it right.

    For queries like these https://books.google.com/ngrams is wonderfully helpful.

    Just input the construction 'not a one of'.

    Pretty common, wholly acceptable and turns up in Macbeth.
     
    Thornesque and GingerCoffee like this.
  4. erebh
    Offline

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,620
    Likes Received:
    467
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    If it's in the voice of a character then they can say whatever you put in their mouth. I see from your excerpt there are no quote marks so I'm guessing you're writing in first person so it's fine.

    Not-a-one is obviously quite common - I thought it was an Irish thing because we say it all the time! "I went to the bar, there wasn't a one in the whole place! In Ireland, a 'one' is also a girl - a young one or an ould one! :) "Look at yer one over there, I would!
     
    obsidian_cicatrix likes this.
  5. Thornesque
    Offline

    Thornesque Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2012
    Messages:
    456
    Likes Received:
    71
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Thank you guys, for the responses. I live in an area where a lot of the old-timers have their own little sayings that may have originated from their parents' languages, and there's honestly no telling from phrase-to-phrase which ones are universal and which are not.
     
  6. obsidian_cicatrix
    Offline

    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2013
    Messages:
    1,711
    Likes Received:
    1,453
    Location:
    Belfast, Northern Ireland
    @erebh
    Yep. Young and old alike, I find. But then again, I commonly use yon, thon, hither and thither too. ;)
     
  7. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    it's archaic and regional... stems from 'nary a one' most likely...

    as far as i know, current correct grammar would be w/o the 'a'... and possibly 'not a single one' [though that's redundant, imo]... if anyone can find a respected authority saying it's ok with it [not a one of...'], i'd appreciate seeing a link to the ruling...
     
  8. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Never, ever bother about whether something is "correct". Ask whether it might reasonably be used in the context in which you are considering using it.

    You have (correctly) observed that it's used. You have (correctly) identified that it's not formal. You have (probably correctly) identified that it tends to be older folks that use it. Well, there you go. You already know how to use it.
     

Share This Page