1

There is but one king, and I am one.

Here, the 'one' at the end of the sentence stands for 'one king' and 'one' is not specifying (in this particular place) a numeral. It is implying 'I am that one' or, more specifically 'I am that one king'.

Therefore, should 'one', when used in this way, not be considered an article with a well deserved place in the much documented sequence :

zero ... some ... a/an ... the ... null

And, if so, where in the sequence should it be inserted ?

Zero example : Who would wish to be king ?

Some example : There are some kings, it is so.

Indefinite example : I am a king and everyone knows it.

Definite example : They respect the king, thus they respect me.

Null example : Many wish to be king but the fact is that I am King.


Reference 1 : Stack Exchange - Why is 'any' not an article ?

Reference 2 : Acquisition of the Zero and Null Articles (Peter Masters)

  • No, not an article, not a determiner, but a common noun functioning as subjective predicative complement. It is of course a pro-form - we understand it to mean "a king". – BillJ Jan 10 '18 at 20:22
  • 2
    "A/an" and "one" are etymologically related, but cannot be used entirely interchangeably. For example, Big Mess Constructions: "such a grammatical example" vs. "such one ungrammatical example". – Laurel Jan 10 '18 at 20:23
  • If it is a pro-form, but not a pronoun, then could it be considered as a pro-article ? – Nigel J Jan 10 '18 at 20:26
  • No, a pro-NP. That it is a common noun is evident from the fact that it can take a determiner ("I am the one") and it has an inflectional contrast between singular and plural ("we are the ones"). – BillJ Jan 10 '18 at 20:27
  • In the expression 'one is not amused' is 'one' a pronoun, meaning 'I am not amused' or is it an article, meaning 'one person (unspecified)' is not amused ? Is an unspecified numeral not (really) an article ? – Nigel J Jan 10 '18 at 20:33
1

Although one and a/an are etymologically related and often used in nearly the same way, only a/an is an article.

At a cursory glance, it would appear that their usage is still pretty similar:

He is a king I trust.
He is one king I trust.

However, there is (at least) one big difference — you can only use one article at once:

*He is the a king I trust.
He is the one king I trust.

Another example: "a one Mr. Jeremiah Swigg"

A smaller difference is that Big Mess Constructions only work with a/an:

This is such a grammatical example.
*This is such one ungrammatical example.

For both of these reasons (and probably some others), one should not be considered an article.

  • What does your answer have to do with the OP's question, which was about the second one in There is but one king, and I am one? – BillJ Jan 11 '18 at 8:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.