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Hello teachers

I believe the both below are OK to you. But when do you use "one" and when "it"?
[1] I want to get a computer, and I'll buy one tomorrow.
[2] I want to get a computer, and I'll buy it tomorrow.

paco
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Comments  
"one" is the pronoun corresponding to non-specific "a/an".
"it" is the pronoun corresponding to specific "a/an" (as well as to definite "the").

"I want to get a computer", standing on its own, is ambiguous as to specificness. "a computer" can be glossed either as "some computer or other, I have no particular computer in mind at this time" (non-specific) OR "a certain computer that I have in mind" (specific).

When the remainder of the sentence is uttered, the speaker must now commit himself to either "one" or "it", at which point he reveals whether he has or does not have a particular computer in mind.

CJ
Hello CJ

Thank you for the nice explanation. So you use "a/an" in two ways: "any/some" and "a certain". How about in the case of indefinite plurals? "I want to buy new magazines at the kiosk". Is it possible to take "magazines" in two ways: specific and non-specific?

paco
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Exactly. Emotion: smile

"I want to buy some" vs. "I want to buy them" are the pronomial forms for the non-specific and specific interpretations, respectively.

CJ
Hello CJ

Thank you.
I think now I have come to understand the difference between specific and non-specific indefinites.

paco
" is ambiguous as to specificness."

the guy has grammatical errors in his original post. why are you using expressions like "ambiguous as to specificness" in your answer? you cannot answer questions about english in complicated english.

furthermore, specificness isn't even a word. the correct word is 'specificity'. you cannot answer questions about english with words that do not exist. you should probably consider learning english before becoming an english teacher. or perhaps you are just really confident and have already started making up your own words.

i suggest that you look up"helpful", and "simple".
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furthermore, specificness isn't even a word.

"Specificness" is contained in The Oxford English Dictionary.

Specificness Specific character or quality.
1682 H. More Annot. Glanvill's Lux O. 233 For a Spirit is nothing else but such a speci*** simple Substance or Essence, the Speci***ness or whose nature onely is its real intimate Form. 1727 in Bailey (vol. II). 1852 Lynch Lett. to Scattered 249 There should be much specificness in prayer, yet may too large a portion of our prayer be specific. Ibid. 251 Peculiar natural character will give specificness to a man's sins. 1905 W. Stevens Let. 31 Dec. (1967) 85 Reflections on Japanese life, on specificness, on my future. 1966 J. Ellis in C. E. Bazell In Memory of J. R. Firth 83 By register-choice is meant the particular register out of the performer's range to which the utterance may be assigned the specificness of the assignment depending on the delicacy of the analysis.

paco
I find it a bit strange for the very first post of a new member of a forum to be a flame of a moderator, or of any member for that matter. It might be more understandable if the argument held water but in your case it doesn't.

I suggest you consider learning English before having the gall to correct an English teacher. Or perhaps you are just really confident and have started to believe in your own ability.
I know Paco through many on-line conversations, so I know he is more than capable of comprehending a complex English sentence. The question is subtle and requires some subtlety to answer it. I'm sure, from my past experience with this student, that he understands at the level I have given the answer. But thank you for your concern in this matter.

As for "specificness", you'll have to take that up with Huddleston, a university professor of English, who wrote Introduction to the Grammar of English for the series "Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics", for it is he who speaks of the parameter of specificness in determiners in English. The header for Section 6.7 of that book is, in fact, (also in bold in the original):

Definiteness, specificness and genericness

I suggest you look up "cheerful" and "courteous" and "tact" and proverbs regarding vinegar and honey.

CJ
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