Should You Say These Ones or Those Ones?


When assessing the grammatical validity of these ones and those ones, you will probably run into a few schools of thought. Opinions often branch into one of three areas:

Both are correct.
Neither is correct.
These ones is incorrect, but those ones can be acceptable.

Who has it right? And more important, which (if either) of these ones and those ones can you use in your writing or speech?

To find the best answer, we need to peel back a few layers of language.

It’s a This or That Problem

Let’s start by understanding that these and those are the plural versions of the demonstrative pronouns this and that. So, when you are writing or speaking:

This shoe becomes these shoes when there is more than one.

That flower becomes those flowers when there are multiple flowers.

We use those words to differentiate by distance, type, or even possession. That brings us back to the issue at hand. If this one becomes plural, is it these ones? And conversely, does that one become those ones?

As it turns out, neither one is correct. It’s much better to simply say and write these and those. The extra wording isn’t needed because the “ones” are implied by the use of plural phrasing. If clarification is needed, it’s better to identify the objects in question.

Examples
“I prefer those ones on the left.”
“I prefer those on the left.”

“I never liked these ones because they are too salty.”
“I never liked these because they are too salty.”

“I bought these ones at the new shop in the mall.”
“I picked up these chocolates at the new shop in the mall”

Except to be clear in the last example, you can probably sense that adding the extra word “ones” adds more than is needed. Most native speakers will also intuit improper phrasing. Many will consider using the extra words to be poor grammar, particularly in the case of “these ones.”

Why Are These Ones and Those Ones Used So Often?

One can find logic in adjusting the singular this one and that one to the plural these ones and those ones. However, a quirk of English grammar is that the “ones” component becomes implicit with the plural. In other words, it’s simply one of those rules you learn as you go as you refine your linguistic knowledge.

For that reason, you may still find people who will be unaware that saying these ones or those ones is incorrect. And to be fair, many of them won’t find much importance in that fact.

If you on the other hand wish to be precise with your grammar, we advise adhering to the shorter words these and those. You will sound better, you will be more accurate, and you typically won’t have to worry about being challenged for your usage.

Still Interested in Straightforward English Grammar Advice?

We believe that grammar can be fun, that it shouldn’t be confusing, and that good communication skills are for everyone. If you want more useful advice for precise and eloquent communication, check out our other articles.

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