[Ads-l] "... there's just one of them"

Thu Jul 26 05:41:37 UTC 2018

Puts me in mind of the remark that Chomsky attributes to Rebecca West, who, asked about possible worlds, replied, “One of the damn thing is enough.” Hard to say which is more implausible, Rebecca West being asked about possible worlds, or her having an opinion on the matter. (Chomsky’s citing her would come  in there somewhere, if it hadn’t actually happened.) But somebody surely said it. If it hasn’t already been done, some quote sleuth might want to  track this one down.



Geoffrey Nunberg
School of Information
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley CA 94720

> Date:    Wed, 25 Jul 2018 13:26:41 -0400
> From:    Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM <mailto:hwgray at GMAIL.COM>>
> Subject: Re: "... there's just one of them"
>> would "... there's just one of it." have been better?
> IMO, yes, since there is just one of it.
> "The earth has several moons, but there's just one of them visible to the
> naked eye."
> On Wed, Jul 25, 2018 at 3:05 AM Chris Waigl <chris at lascribe.net <mailto:chris at lascribe.net>> wrote:
>> I was just listening to the latest CBC radio broadcast of "Quirks and
>> Quarks" (as a podcast, but no matter). Here's how the host introduced a new
>> topic:
>> "You've probably noticed that our planet has exactly one moon. And it's a
>> pretty good one, as moons go, but still, there's just one of them."
>> At this point I had a weird 200 milliseconds of wondering if the "them" is
>> the gender-neutral singular they (referring to the Moon??), which it
>> obviously isn't. But it nontheless came across as ever so slightly weird.
>> OTOH, would "... there's just one of it." have been better?
>> For people, I do hear stuff like "[She's awesome, but we need to make sure
>> not to overload her with work:] There's just one of her."
>> Idly speculating,
> Chris
> --

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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