A colleague of mine stated that he often hears "one of the better X" from native speakers. I haven't heard this phrase often, and I would use "one of the best X" myself, unless I want to contrast something, like:

Solution A is good, but Solution B is one of the better [ones]

Can "one of the better" be used (or is it used even if it happens to be non-grammatical) in non-contrasting cases like:

This apple is one of the better I've tasted

  • 1
    Yes, it's used, and it's fine. Among the good, better and best solutions (or apples), X is among the better but not the best. (I would use that or ones after better in your apple example.) Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 9:39
  • Why do you think it wouldn't be okay? Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 10:47
  • @curiousdannii Because of comparative form being used without explicitly stating what the thing is compared with. And I don't think it wouldn't be okay, I just use superlative form myself and wonder if comparative form is used more often.
    – Vilmar
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 10:56
  • Would you state all the things it's being compared to if you used the superlative? Probably not. In both cases you are comparing something with all of the somethings. Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 10:57
  • 1
    Normally you'd say "one of the better ones" or "one of the better apples", but "one of the better" without such a "caboose" is still "legal", so long as there is somewhere an implied target for "better".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 3:46

4 Answers 4


Technically there is only one "best" so "one of the best" is synonymous with "best", that said, it's used quite often - it's English not mathematics after all, imprecision is allowed.

"One of the better " is fine too.


'One of the better' may not be used because 'the better ' can be used when compared the two. Example: She is the better of the two sisters.


In first case is acceptable, but has a different meaning than using the best. If you state:

Solution A is good, but Solution B is one of the better

better is comparative, meaning that if you have 100 solutions and A is ranked 50th, B can be any of the solutions that are better than A, for example the 49th best one. If you state one of the best it means the solution is ranked high.

In the second case there is not comparison, so you need to use superlative.

  • You’re mixing apples and oranges.  If the first half of the sentence is “Solution A is good,” then the appropriate second half is “but Solution B is better”.  We would use “one of the better” like this: “Solution C is ranked 7th, so that’s one of the best [solutions].   Solution D is ranked 14th, so it’s only one of the better ones, but not one of the best.” Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 4:30
  • thanks, I actually removed [ones] from the original sentence in question, but, apart that, it seems to me you are saying exactly what I say, and your sentence on solution D looks exactly like mine. Am I wrong?
    – Vincenzooo
    Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 18:54
  • No, we are not saying the same thing. You’re saying that it’s OK to say, “Solution B is one of the better” if it’s in the top 49, just because you’re comparing it to something that’s less good. I’m saying that “one of the better ones” (or, for example, “one of the better restaurants” or “one of the better movies”) is used to compare something (Solution D, in my example) to the entire population of things in its class. In my example, “Solution D is one of the better ones [solutions].” could stand by itself; without reference to Solution C; it’s implicitly comparing Solution D to the other 99. Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 19:15
  • ah ok, I was indeed following the same example as the question. Solution A (ranked 50th) is good, but there are 49 better ones, including solution B. Then solution B is one of the better ones, how is this incorrect? Also if you compare to entire population, how do you distinguish when to say "one of the best" vs "one of the better"? The rule says if it is three or more items (groups) --> use best vs only two --> use better. In the example, item A divides solutions in two groups, the better (than A) and the worse, use better to mean that. If you compare the entire population, use best.
    – Vincenzooo
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 2:01
  • same way, in second example, if you tasted a bunch of apples and some were good, some other were not, you can use the sentence as cited. If you are instead comparing all apples tasted in your life, you need to use one of the best.
    – Vincenzooo
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 2:04

"One of the better" is grammatically incorrect.

I am good. I am better than you. I am the the best of all 3 of us.

That is a good book. This book is better than this one. This book is the best book of all three, four, five, etc., etc.)

  • How is it "grammatically incorrect"? (Note that whether something is good or better or best has nothing to do with grammar.)
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 3:43

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