Word Confusion: One versus Won

Posted June 6, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 23 September 2017

She one the first prize for baked goods at the County Fair. Now, I’m not sure if the writer missed a few words, such as “she was the one who won the first prize” or if the writer didn’t realize that to have won something is pretty special and may result in a first place ribbon.

What I do know is that it threw me off my reading stride.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

One Won
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; James Harbeck, as an adverb; Dictionary.com: won

Gdańsk - PGE Arena - Euro 2012 - quarter final match Germany - Greece - Manuel Neuer

“Gdansk PGE Arena” is Andrzej Otrębski’s own work under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

He’s Number One!

Photo taken shortly after Tara Wheeler was crowned Miss Virginia 2008

“Tara, Miss Virginia 2008” is Dworlando’s own work and is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Tara Wheeler won the crown as Miss Virginia 2008.

Part of Grammar:
Cardinal Number 1; Determiner; Pronoun 1; Suffix 2 Past tense or past participle of: win

Noun 3
Plural for the noun: won

Verb, intransitive 4 and 5 & transitive 4

Archaic Third person present verb: wons 5
Archaic Past participle: wonned 5
Archaic Gerund or present participle: wonning 5

Cardinal Number:
The lowest cardinal number

  • Half of two
  • 1
  • [Roman numeral] i, I
  • A single person or thing, viewed as taking the place of a group
  • Single
  • [Used for emphasis] Just one as opposed to any more or to none at all
  • Denoting a particular item of a pair or number of items
  • Denoting a particular but unspecified occasion or period
  • Used before a name to denote a person who is not familiar or has not been previously mentioned
  • A certain __
  • [Informal; chiefly North American and used for emphasis] A noteworthy example of __
  • Identical
  • The same
  • one-year-old
  • one o’clock, one years old
  • [Informal; US] A one-dollar bill
  • [Informal] An alcoholic drink
  • [Informal] A joke or story
  • A size of garment or other merchandise denoted by one
  • A domino or dice with one spot


  • Lone
  • Not two or more
  • [As pronoun]
  • [As combined form]

Distinct from all others

  • Only
  • Unique
  • [As pronoun]

A specified person, item, etc., as distinct from another or others of its kind

  • [As pronoun]

Referring to a person or thing previously mentioned or easily identified

A person of a specified kind

  • A person who is remarkable or extraordinary in some way

[Third person singular] Used to refer to the speaker, or any person, as representing people in general


[Chemistry] Forming nouns denoting various compounds, especially ketones
The basic monetary unit of North and South Korea

Verb, intransitive:
Be successful or victorious in a contest or conflict

[Win someone over] Gain the support or favor of someone by action or persuasion

[Win out] Manage to succeed or achieve something by effort

[Archaic] To dwell 5

  • Abide
  • Stay

Verb, transitive:
Be successful or victorious in a contest or conflict

Acquire or secure as a result of a contest, conflict, bet, or other endeavor

Gain a person’s attention, support, or love, typically gradually or by effort

[Win someone over] Gain the support or favor of someone by action or persuasion

[Archaic] Manage to reach a place by effort

  • Obtain (ore) from a mine
Cardinal Number:
There’s only room for one person.

Two could live as cheaply as one.

It’s only another one hundred miles.

World War I was referred to as the War to End All Wars.

I need a one-bedroom apartment.

They would straggle home in ones and twos.

Her one concern is to save her daughter.

Electronics is one of his hobbies.

He put one hand over her shoulder and one around her waist.

It looks like a glass tube closed at one end.

It happened one afternoon in late October.

He worked as a clerk for one Mr. Ming.

The actor was one smart-mouthed troublemaker.

He was one hell of a snappy dresser.

All types of training meet one common standard.

He’s a one-year-old. What can one expect?

It’s half past one.

I’ll be there at one.

I’ll want a cool one after a day on the water.

Did you hear the one about the chicken farmer and the spaceship?

Yeah, right. She wears a one.

I only see one car.

One is enough for now.

Come in one at a time.

Have you seen a one-eyed dog?

He’s a one-legged man.

She’s one girl in a million.

That boy is one of a kind.

Raise one hand and then the other…

Which one is correct?

Her mood changed from one of moroseness to one of joy.

It was her best apron, the white one.

Do you want one?

You’re the one who ruined her life!

Eleanor was never one to be trifled with.

My friends and loved ones were there for my birthday party.

You never saw such a one for figures.

One must admire him for his willingness.

One gets the impression that he is ahead of the game.



A won is equal to 100 jun in North Korea and 100 jeon in South Korea.

Verb, intransitive:
He was determined to have won.

Talent won out over bureaucracy.

“Here advantage is that they lerneth hir grammer in lasse tyme, than children were wonned to doo.” 5

Verb, transitive:
The Mets have won four games in a row.

The Pirates won 2–1.

There are hundreds of prizes to be won.

It was the sort of play that won them the World Cup.

He won back their attention.

Her sense of humor had won him over at once.

Many had strived, but only one won the great contest.

Adjective: one-armed, one-click, one-dimensional, one-down, one-handed, one-horse, one-legged, one-man, one-off, one-parent, one-party, one-piece, one-pub, one-shot, one-sided, one-size-fits-all, one-star, one-step, one-stop, one-tailed, one-time, one-touch, one-way, one-woman, one-world, onefold
Adverb: one-handed, one-sidedly
Noun: one-design, one-dimensionality, one-eighty, one-liner, one-lunger, one-nighter, one-off, one-on-one, one-piece, one-step, one-teacher, one-to-one, one-track mind, one-trick pony, one-two, one-upmanship, one-worlder, one-worldism, oneness, oner, onesie
Pronoun: oneself
Verb: one-up, one-upped, one-upping
History of the Word:
1 Old English ān is of Germanic origin and related to the Dutch een and German ein, from an Indo-European root shared by the Latin unus. The initial w sound developed before the 15th century and was occasionally represented in the spelling. It was not accepted into standard English until the late 17th century.

2 From the Greek patronymic -ōnē.

3 From the Korean wån.

4 Old English winnan meaning strive, contend, subdue and take possession of, or acquire is of Germanic origin.

5 Before 900, Early Old English wunian became the Middle English wonen and is cognate with the German wohnen; see wont

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C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

Pinterest Photo Credits

Michael Phelps of the US Kisses His 19th Olympic Medal (Photo: REUTERS/Michael Dalder) in the post, “London 2012 Olympics: Michael Phelps Not the Greatest Olympian, Says Seb Coe” by Jacquelin Magnay, Olympics Editor for The Telegraph, 1 August 2012.