This question is an exact duplicate of:

  1. If one fails, then he must simply try harder.
  2. If one fails, then one must simply try harder.

I have been trying to find the answer to this one for some time now. Some books and websites say second is correct while others say they both are same. Can someone explain which one is grammatically correct?

marked as duplicate by user140086, Community Jan 26 '16 at 13:10

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.


Both are grammatically correct.

In British English, the second is normal, and the first almost unknown. I have read that in US English, style guides prefer the first.

Other Englishes tend to follow British usage, but I don't know specifically.

  • 1
    This usage of "one" is gradually disappearing in the US. More common would be "If you fail, then you must simply try harder." Even when "you" means "one". – GEdgar Jan 24 '16 at 18:59
  • That's true in the UK as well: "one" is rather formal or old-fashioned. – Colin Fine Jan 24 '16 at 19:07
  • In AmE, the first was used almost exclusively before 1900, and was common until 1950 or so. But that changed. It sounds wrong now. – Peter Shor Jan 24 '16 at 19:38
  • 1
    In the US, if you use “one” in this way, you will be misunderstood by most people. The US version of this sentence would be “if you fail, try harder.” – Simon White Jan 24 '16 at 23:21

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