I can't understand what is the role of word "one" in this sentence:

A hillside in the morning so radiant with light one has the feeling he has been looking at Van Gogh's drawings.

Source: The Guardian

I know that it says the hillside is very radiant such as Van Gogh's drawings. But I don't understand what role word "one" grammatically has and what does it mean in the sentence.

Thanks for any help.

  • One, an unspecified person, any person in general. Look it up in a good dictionary. Good Luck.
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 10:15
  • By role, I assume you mean function; in which case it's the subject of the subordinate clause one has the feeling he has been looking at Van Gogh's drawings. Categorywise, it's a personal pronoun used non-referentially for talking about people generally rather than in reference to a particular individual.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


It's an indefinite pronoun used as the subject of the sentence. It means 'everyone' or 'somebody'.

According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary:


 - an individual of a vaguely indicated group - anyone at all // one never knows

  • 1
    "'everyone' or 'somebody'" -- in fact, anyone, for that matter.
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 10:16

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