Skip to Content

Is It Correct to Say “These Ones”?

Repeating a word several times in a piece can make your writing seem repetitive. That’s why you will often hear words like “these” and “that” to represent nouns, but is it correct to say “these ones”?

It is correct to say “these ones” when referring to a plural noun or objects near in time or distance. The word “these” is a plural demonstrative pronoun you can use in place of a plural noun when those around you can easily understand the context. However, some view adding “ones” to be redundant and unnecessary.

Continue reading to learn more about the phrase “these ones” and how to use it correctly in your writing and speaking – without sounding repetitive.

What Does “These Ones” Mean? 

The phrase “these ones” combines a demonstrative pronoun (these) with an indefinite pronoun (ones) to refer to a group of items that are close in either time or distance. “These ones” can replace a noun where your listener/reader can easily understand the context and your meaning. 

So, instead of saying, “I like these flowers,” you can say, “I like these ones.” 

However, the issue with this phrase pertains to adding “ones” and whether it is necessary. 

The word “these” is a demonstrative pronoun. A demonstrative pronoun is a pronoun (a word that takes the place of a noun) that you can use to point to a specific noun (source). We’ll talk more about demonstrative pronouns later in this article.

“These” is a plural demonstrative pronoun (the singular is “this”) on its own. However, when it modifies a noun, it becomes a demonstrative adjective referring to multiples of something at hand.

The word “ones,” as we are using it in this phrase, is an indefinite pronoun. An indefinite pronoun doesn’t point or refer to something specific. Some examples include words like “anybody” or “everything.”

Keeping that in mind, many grammarians have concluded that adding “ones” is not necessary. It is assumed since you already use the plural word “these.” Let’s take a look at an example.

Imagine you are sharing snacks with friends, and you bring two different flavors of cookies. If both boxes are on the table and your friend asks you which you prefer, you could point to the box of chocolate cookies and say, “I like these ones.”

But you can also simply say, “I like these.” There’s no need to add “ones” since your friend can easily understand the context and which cookies you are referring to. As such, “these” stands as a demonstrative pronoun. Still, most would not argue that you are wrong if you add “ones” to your response, making “these” a demonstrative adjective.

Next, we’ll talk about how adding the word “ones” can help when you want to isolate something particular in a larger common group or add a demonstrative adjective to the phrase.

How Do You Use “These Ones”?

You can use “these ones” to refer to a specific plural noun that is close in proximity or distance. However, the best way to do so is to add a modifier or use the phrase to identify a more limited or isolated aspect of a larger group of something.

Image by Helena Lopes via Unsplash

That may sound confusing, but we’ll break this down with examples. Here’s an imaginary scenario that will help show how using “these ones” can communicate specificity within a larger group.

Imagine you are at a grocery store speaking to someone about choosing the perfect red apple for the apple pie you will be making. There are multiple varieties of apples in the bin – Cortland, Gala, Macintosh, Honeycrisp – and they are all red!

You could point and say, “I like these.” But, in this instance, adding “ones” may add more specificity and identify a limited selection within a larger group than using “these” alone.

In other words, if you point to the bin and say, “I like these,” your listener could infer that you like all of the red apples. Instead, if you add “ones” and say “these ones” instead, you can add specificity in that you are identifying the type of red apple you prefer within the larger group (source).

Another way you can use “these ones” is with a modifier. For example, instead of saying, “I like these ones,” you could add an adjective to clarify your meaning and avoid sounding redundant. For example, you might say, “I like these purple ones” (rather than other purple ones in the same larger group).

In another example, if there is a bouquet of purple flowers on the table and you simply say, “I like these” or “I like these ones,” it would be easy to assume that you like the entire bouquet of purple flowers. Adding a modifier helps to identify which purple flowers, in particular, you like the most.

When Can You Use “These Ones”?

You can use “these ones” when you want to identify a specific noun within a larger group to add specificity to your communication. If, however, you are not making a comparison between two similar items, it’s best to stick with “these” alone. 

As we’ve mentioned above, using “ones” with “these” can seem redundant and unnecessary, but still, it’s not necessarily grammatically incorrect. So, you’ll likely continue to hear the phrase often, both in standard American English and British English, the phrase being more common in the latter.

Nonetheless, you can use “these ones” with a modifier to avoid redundancy since “these” becomes an adjective rather than a plural demonstrative pronoun when you add a modifier.

When you say, “I like these sweet ones,” the words “these” and “sweet” are adjectives that describe “which one” you like.

When you say, “I like these ones,” as we’ve mentioned, “ones” may be redundant. Still, in conversation, there’s nothing wrong with using the phrase to point to something nearby without naming the noun specifically.

In What Context Can You Use “These Ones”?

The best context to use “these ones” is in casual conversation when you are speaking with someone about something in close proximity or distance. Any time that you don’t need to state the noun expressly, you can use “these” or “these ones.”

Contexts in which the phrase works best include when you are making a comparison, pointing out something you prefer when the item is a limited part of a larger whole, or when you add a modifier such as a color or a number to the phrase. 

Suppose someone at a party asks you which cookies you prefer. You can easily say, “I like these ones,” especially if there are three or four varieties of chocolate chip cookies on a single plate with other flavors or varieties on other plates.

If you say “I like these” instead, your listener may conclude that you like all of the chocolate chip cookies more than the oatmeal raisin cookies nearby. Saying “these ones” allows for an added level of specificity to your communication. 

The phrase is casual, though, so bear that in mind, regardless of whether you choose “these” or “these ones.” And, if in doubt about your audience or the formality of the situation, it may be best to stick to “these” to avoid any risk of redundancy.

Using “These Ones” in a Full Sentence

Below are some examples showing you how to use “these ones” in a sentence or conversation. You’ll note that we also have sample sentences where we use a modifier in the phrase, such as with, “I like these red ones.” 

  • I like these ones, not the big ones over there.
  • She said she likes these ones for the project rather than the ones we used yesterday.
  • I like these blue ones more than I like the darker blues.
  • He told me he likes these ones, not the ones in your hand. 

Below is another sample conversation illustrating how you can use “these ones.” 

“Which color of Skittles is your favorite?” my friend asked as she opened the traditional bag and the sour bag and dumped them all on the table. I told her I liked these ones, not the sour red ones – the flavors are entirely different even though the colors are the same! 

When Not to Use “These Ones”

You should avoid using “these ones” in formal writing or formal contexts. You should also avoid it if what you are speaking about is not close in proximity, as in that case, the correct demonstrative pronoun would be “those,” not “these.” 

We’ll discuss other demonstrative pronouns in a bit, but be sure to avoid using “these” if what you are speaking about is not nearby. “Those” refers to things far away, while “these” refers to things close in time or distance. 

And, since we’ve mentioned that “these ones” can seem redundant, it’s best to use “these” alone without the addition of “ones” in a formal context and, more specifically, in writing, especially if formal in nature. 

And finally, if there’s no need for “ones” at all to add clarity to your communication, simply skip it and stick to sentences like “I like these” versus “I like these ones.”

What Can You Use Instead of “These Ones”?

The best alternative is to use “these” alone instead of “these ones,” or you can change the indefinite pronoun “ones” to the specific noun you are speaking or writing about.

There’s not exactly a synonymous phrase for “these ones,” though there are close phrases such as “those ones” if the item or object you are speaking about is located far away in distance or time.

Still, “those ones” retains the same problem as “these ones” in that “ones” can seem redundant and unnecessary.

The best option if you are looking for something to use instead of “these ones” is to stick with “these” alone. You can also identify the noun, so instead of saying, “I like these ones,” you can say, “I like these flowers,” or “I like these cookies.” 

If you’d like to learn more about phrases similar to “these ones,” take a look at Is It Correct to Say “These Days”? or Is It Correct to Say “Those Ones”?

Demonstrative Pronouns

A demonstrative pronoun refers to or replaces another noun that you or someone else has already mentioned, whether in written work or when speaking. Demonstrative pronouns can be singular (this/that) or plural (these/those), and they point to things near or far (source). 

Both “that” and “those” are demonstrative pronouns you can use for things that are not close in time or distance but far away. “This” and “these” are demonstrative pronouns that you can use for things that are close or nearby.

Sometimes, the words “none,” “neither,” and “such” are also demonstrative pronouns, but we use them as such much less commonly than the main four we mentioned previously.

Using demonstrative pronouns helps you avoid repeating the same noun over and over. For example, if you are talking about a new pair of shoes with a friend, you probably don’t want to say “shoes” repeatedly when speaking. It would sound clunky and repetitive.

Instead, you can say, “I just bought two pairs of new shoes. These are very stylish, but they give me blisters!” 

Demonstrative pronouns become demonstrative adjectives when you use them along with the noun they would typically replace. For example, the first sentence below has “these” as a demonstrative pronoun, while the second uses “these” as a demonstrative adjective:

  • I bought these yesterday.
  • I bought these shoes yesterday.
  • I bought these ones yesterday.

This article was written for

The last sentence illustrates how the demonstrative adjective “these” modifies the indefinite pronoun “ones,” which stands in place of the shoes the speaker is referring to in context.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, phrases we hear and use commonly aren’t necessarily wrong but may not be the best choice, depending on the context of your conversation and the level of formality required. One such phrase is “these ones,” since it is not technically wrong, but it can be redundant to include “ones.” Many prefer to stick to “these” alone.

Still, it is probably not a big deal in casual conversation, and very few would find fault in the phrase. In formal writing, however, use an alternative, state the noun expressly to avoid redundancy, or simply stick to “these” alone.