1. Thornesque

    Thornesque Senior Member

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    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

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    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

    art Contributor Contributor

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    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.
     
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  4. erebh

    erebh Contributor Contributor

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    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!
     
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  5. Thornesque

    Thornesque Senior Member

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    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

    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    @erebh
    Yep. Young and old alike, I find. But then again, I commonly use yon, thon, hither and thither too. ;)
     
  7. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    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

    digitig Contributor Contributor

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    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.
     

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