So, long time, no see, people! I’ve been busy with this and that and I have begun to gloss over people’s mistakes so I haven’t really written anything here. But there was this one thing I couldn’t get over – it’s all over my FB feed, it’s at work, and it’s in a lot of places I go to read stuff.
And it begins thus – “One of my friend…”
I’ll give you an example. Or two.
One of my friend thinks she is a direct descendant of Nefertiti.
One of my colleague is getting fired this week.
Now, both uses of the “one of” phrases are wrong. Do you see it? No? Okay, I’ll explain.
You have loads of friends. Okay, even if you are a loner, you have at least two friends. Likewise, whichever place you work in, surely there are more than at least two people?
So essentially, what you have is friendS and colleagueS. Plural.
Assuming that is true, you are now talking about one person. Of the many friends and colleagues you have, you are talking about a single person. So you are talking about one of your many friends. Or one of your many colleagues. Except, you don’t always say the word ‘many’ – it is automatically understood.
So when you are talking about them, what you essentially mean is,
One of my (many) friends thinks she is a direct descendant of Nefertiti.
One of my (many) colleagues is getting fired this week.
So you see, even if we omit the word ‘many’, the noun after is always in plural because, like I just said, you are talking about one of many of the type. This could be a person, a cat or even an inanimate object, like so:
One of my dogs is called Kitty.
I left one of my books in the subway.
One of the princes is hot.
A Macbook is one of the best computers you can buy today.
Get it? And of course, since you are talking about just one of the many, the verb following this will always be in the singular – so is, was, has etc.
So when you say ‘one of my friend’, it means that you have only one friend. And if you did have just one friend, you’d say ‘my friend’ and not ‘one of’ anything. Like,
My Louis Vuitton bag needs to be dusted.
Because I have only one Louis Vuitton bag, I will name it, and not say “one of my Louis Vuitton bag”.
So there, easy? It’s just one of the things people mess up sometimes. But you won’t after today, will you?