Date: Sun, 9 Nov 1997 19:56:52 -0500 From: Alan Baragona Subject: Re: one as a pronoun? (Dale F. Coye) wrote: > > After reading 72 freshmen papers I find myself facing: "One finds many points > in common..." in nearly every one. I hate this construction. I especially > hate it when it's reflexive: "when one asks oneself what one's position > is..." Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage tells us it is 'usually > the mark of a formal style,' but I find myself wanting to tell my students > not to use it ever, because it sounds stiff and unnatural. In other words, my > Sprachgefuehl tells me people don't use it in informal speech, and formal > speech that deviates too much from informal speech doesn't set well. My > question is- what's the current feeling on this construction, in writing and > in speech? I know some people use it in conversational styles, but is it > only PhDs? It sounds foreign to me. German, 'man,' French 'on,' but not > English. > > Dale Coye > The College of New Jersey Like you, I don't like it and don't use it. It would be one good way for students to avoid either sexist pronoun usage or the clumsy "he or she" except that they always end up shifting from indeterminate pseudo-pronoun "one" to the masculine anyway ("When one reads J.D. Salinger, he is overcome by sadness."), and it makes them sound as if they're trying to be British. Alan B.