After a bit of back-and-forth looking over nosisms and the use of "one", I wonder at what purpose is truly served in choosing one over another. For example:

What one finds, in the end, is peace.

As opposed to:

What we find, in the end, is peace.

Is it considered more aloof on the write's part to use one instead of a more inclusive "we"? This is assuming that one(we) is(are) not attempting to patronize the person(s) being spoken to. Is there anything akin to a definitive ruling on this, or is it simply style?

2 Answers 2


As Satanicpuppy notes, we is inclusive and one refers to a hypothetical individual. But the two words are usually used in the same way (as in your example); which one to use is most often strictly a style decision. One is generally used in more formal writing and we (or sometimes you) in more conversational styles. One can come off sounding stilted to the modern ear, though. Even when I'm writing to a style guide that discourages use of we or you, I prefer to rephrase as much as possible so as to avoid the necessity of using one.


"We" is inclusive (unless you're using the "Royal We"), but "One" in this sense, is not.

One is being used here in the place of "you". The construction has to use "one" due to the passive nature of the phrase.

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