If I am talking to somebody about a certain group of people in the third person, and then want to refer to the person I am talking with as one of those people, which do I say?

One of them were you

One of them was you.

2 Answers 2


The verb must agree with the subject 'one', therefore it's 'one of them was you'.

  • 1
    I don't think you is subject here. Try replacing you by a different person. I would say one of them was him : him is an object.
    – None
    Commented Oct 23, 2011 at 18:30
  • 4
    I'm not sure, but I'd say that the general rule is that the verb in English agrees with the subject, not the complement. In the sentence you are mentioning, 'you' is a complement.
    – Irene
    Commented Oct 23, 2011 at 18:30
  • 1
    @ Laure: the verb 'be' cannot have an object.
    – Irene
    Commented Oct 23, 2011 at 18:32
  • 3
    Can 'one boy' be 'those Indians'? Isn't this ungrammatical? There's something wrong with the use of the plural form in 'Indians' I think. Seems to me that'One of them was an Indian' is the only correct sentence here
    – Irene
    Commented Oct 23, 2011 at 19:21
  • 1
    The verb agrees with the subject rather than the complement unless the subject is a word like there, what, who, ... For example, "What is required are fortitude and imagination." Commented Oct 24, 2011 at 18:33

"One of them" is a noun phrase referring to a single person. Therefore all its verbs are always singular.

This is correct:

One of them was you.

This is not:

One of them were you.

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