I’m grateful for my readers. Based on the e-mails I receive, I’ve long known that insightful, smart, enthusiastic and reasonable people read this column. But this week I’ve found another reason to be grateful for my readers: I’m grateful they’re not New York Times readers — or at least not the same New York Times readers who posted comments about a recent grammar article on the paper’s website.
Take, for example, Rod Nelson, who wrote to the New York Times: “I keep seeing ‘one of the only .?.?.’ in your pages. Someone needs to do something about that.”
Many people believe that “one of the only” is wrong. They believe “only” often means “one.” So by their thinking, “one of the only” translates to “one of the one,” which is illogical. That’s why “one of the only,” some people say, should always be replaced with “one of the few.”