If I say:

Answer the third/fourth/fifth one.

With one being used to avoid repeating the word question, is it grammatically correct or incorrect?

If it is grammatically correct, is the use of the word one optional here?

  • @Davo is it a pronoun (of sorts)? – marcellothearcane Aug 8 '17 at 19:33
  • Number words with those suffixes are called ordinals. Your question could have (and probably should have) been titled "Usage of ordinals with 'one'". – Jeff Zeitlin Aug 8 '17 at 19:40
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    @David I will delete my comment, since I don't feel knowledgeable enough to make a complete answer, with the proper terms and citations. – Davo Aug 8 '17 at 19:47
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    The slash is used to mean either or or and, and possibly and/or. What is the fuller version of your highlighted sentence? – Edwin Ashworth Aug 8 '17 at 20:31
  • @Davo — OK. But don't feel you have to be particularly knowledgeable. You can often find dictionary definitions or examples on the web to quote to illustrate what you know (or feel you know) from experience to be right. I'll delete my critical comment now, as it no longer serves a purpose. (And this comment when you have had time to read it.) – David Aug 8 '17 at 22:02

It's a grammatically correct imperative sentence with "the fifth" "fourth" and "third" being adjectives that modify the noun that comes after them ( one ).

-Which question do you need me to answer? -Please, answer the third one.

Technically these words ( fourth fifth etc ) can also be used as nouns. So, "answer the third" is grammatically correct as long the listener has enough context to understand what you are talking about.

  • Should I deduce that if the listener has enough context to understand what I am talking about, then wouldn't it be unnecessary to use/repeat 'one' when asking a few more questions? – Gaurav Aug 8 '17 at 19:57
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    I believe it would be unnecessary but not wise as it sounds really strange . "Please answer the third question" is better than "please answer the third one" Which, in turn, is better than "please answer the third",unless you've already repeated the same question fifty times. – Stick figure Aug 8 '17 at 20:09

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