1. One of the former student
  2. One of the former students

Which one is correct, and why? Can any one explain it clearly?

  • 1
    one of the former students = one of many (at least more than one student), thus - plural form.
    – Rossitten
    Dec 12, 2015 at 6:47
  • Would you say 'one of the duck' or 'one of the ducks'? Dec 12, 2015 at 6:51
  • OK @Rossitten ..,
    – Shaddy
    Dec 12, 2015 at 6:52
  • If there is only one student, then what is the answer?
    – Shaddy
    Dec 12, 2015 at 6:54
  • @sradha If there is only one student, you can't use it. You could refer to him/her using my former student.
    – user140086
    Dec 12, 2015 at 7:10

2 Answers 2


In the expression "One of the former student", the speaker employs "one" to refer to one student out of a group of two or more former students. When the constituents of that group are referred to, they cannot be referred to in singular (that is, as "former student"). So, this expression is incorrect.

In the expression "one of the former students", the constituents of the group are referred in plural (that is, as "former students"). So, this expression is correct.


One of the former students. "One of" refers to a group. The group that follows is plural. "Students" is plural of "student."

Consider the statement, "one of the team." A team is a group. It can be referred to as singular or plural, depending on the context. In this case, the sentence refers to a larger entity which "one" is part of.

"Students" in the instance you refer to is the larger entity.

  • Please vote to my question ,so that I can vote up your post,I do not have much reputation, as I am new to this site.
    – Shaddy
    Dec 12, 2015 at 10:07
  • @sradha But the whole purpose of voting / reputation is to maintain standards and indicate how reliable answers are likely to be. Your question is not really suitable for ELU. There are many other websites where it might well be acceptable. Dec 12, 2015 at 12:10

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