I feel like I have heard/read it in somewhere but I don't remember where. It is something like "how many ones were at the party last night?" or "how many ones are in the box?".

Do you think it makes sense? is it correct grammatically?

I will be glad to hear from you..

  • 5
    It's grammatical, but it's not how people talk. Try "How many were at the party" or "How many people were at the party" (and so on). To use ones like that would be OK if the party was hosted for one-dollar bills, but that is unlikely to be the case.
    – Robusto
    Nov 11 '15 at 18:42
  • 2
    You probably didn't hear that from a native speaker. You can say "how many are in the box" and "how many people were at the party" but "ones" doesn't really play a role, at all, in either of those sentences. Nov 11 '15 at 18:42
  • 1
    This isn't exactly what you are asking about (and the following use would, imo, still be pretty questionable), but where something general has just been mentioned, I’ve heard/used “How many ones of …” to get precision: “There were plenty [of] nice ladies/gentlemen at the party!” “Oh yeah? How many “ones [of my age]” were there?”
    – Papa Poule
    Nov 11 '15 at 20:03

"How many ones" has the literal meaning of "how many instances of the number 1", as in

How many ones are in 12351? The answer is two.

As pointed out by Sven, one can also mean a one-dollar bill, so your example of

How many ones are in the box.

could, within certain contexts, be a meaningful sentence meaning how many one-dollar bills are in the box.

In other cases you should use just "How many".

How many (people) were at the party last night?

How many (pencils) are in the box?

  • 2
    Good answer. The expression "How many ones?" might also come up (in the United States) in the context of one-dollar bills. If you go to the bank and ask for change for a $20 bill, a teller might ask you, "How many ones?" meaning "How many $1 bills as opposed to $10 or $5 bills?"
    – Sven Yargs
    Nov 11 '15 at 18:52
  • @SvenYargs: Thank you, I incorporated your comment into the answer. Nov 11 '15 at 18:55
  • Thanks a lot, it is a very useful answer. @SvenYargs: Thank you for addition. Nov 11 '15 at 19:08

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