I recently corrected

"ghettos, such as the ones found..." to

"ghettos, such as those found..."

Was I correct, or are both versions right?

  • I'd say those is correct because you are referring to people(groups). ones is generally used for objects except in few formal structures like One must think before he speaks.
    – Fr0zenFyr
    May 24, 2013 at 10:12
  • 1
    They're both correct. The restriction in Fr0zenFyr's comment applies to actual persons, not objects or collectives - though one has to avoid ambiguity when referring to people-groups! There is perhaps a nuance of pre-referencing in the ones not hinted at by those - "We came across many ghettos during our investigation. Some were beyond description, such as the ones ..." May 24, 2013 at 10:26

2 Answers 2


They're both grammatically and semantically correct. They differ in style and register.

"..ghettos, such as the ones found..." is verbose: two words versus
"..ghettos, such as those found..." one word.

You'll find both styles in formal academic prose and in informal prose. I prefer the second style and would make the same change were I editing a sentence with the first string in it.

I'm not sure which would occur more often in speech. I tend to speak the way I write (formal, generally grammatical correct, and, I've been told, in difficult vocabulary). Most people write like they speak, though.

There's no rule that forbids anyone from using the ones when talking about people. E.g.:

I generally like girls in their late teens and early twenties, but the ones who belong to Chi Omega Tau are too poor to consider for marriage, the ones who belong to Phi Phi Phi, too intelligent to consider for a fun date, and the ones who belong to Zeta Beta Gamma, too muscular to consider for tennis opponents.

Here's a blog titled The Ones to Watch. It's all about people, not videos or trains or enemy planes.

  • Nice answer. I googled your example ("I generally like girls...") but can't find it. It sounds like Woody Allen. Is it? May 24, 2013 at 10:45
  • @HellishHeat: Thank you for the compliment, but the example is pure Bill Franke. I've watched a lot of Woody Allen movies, though. :-)
    – user21497
    May 24, 2013 at 10:47

"The ones" is best used when things or individuals share something in common but are not being members of or being united in one or the same group. Whereas "those" is best used when things or individuals share something in common and are members of or being united in one or the same group.

  • Hi and welcome to ELU. This question is over a year old, and it already has an accepted answer. Please make sure your answer will actually provide really helpful, additional detail before posting it.
    – Neeku
    Oct 29, 2014 at 13:06

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