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One and the same, one in the same

One and the same is the logical formulation of the expression meaning the same person or thing. This expression is not hard to parse; it uses redundancy (one and the same being synonyms) for emphasis. The eggcorn one in the same sort of makes sense—if we imagine something being inside the same thing as itself—but it’s not the standard phrase and is widely viewed as a misspelling.

Examples


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True nuts don’t split—the seed and the fruit are one and the same. [Telegraph]

To them, efficiency and bureaucracy are one and the same. [Daily Telegraph]

Tea Party Republicans are itching for a fight on these issues — for them, the culture war and the budget showdown are one and the same. [Salon]

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Comments

  1. ann horne says:

    thanks for clearing this up, in Liverpool, Moorfields Station they have a mural on the wall saying “one in the same” and this got me wondering – I will inform the powers that be in Merseyrail.

  2. reardensteel says:

    But then, you could just say, “They are the same.”

    Less poetic, but simpler.

  3. I think I heard one in the same referring to the Mayans and that’s where I picked it up and started thinking about the phrase and
    actually thought they meant that we are one (together), in the same that (togetherness) is the ” same”.

  4. “One in the same” has 1,830,000,000 hits on the web. “One and the same” has a puny 191,000,000 hits.

    • Väinö says:

      The things is, if you search ‘”One in the same” -“One and the same”‘ to get rid of all the noise, you still get 10x more hits but, you’ll notice that it’s not the expression that is used in all of the results, e.g.: “Golfer makes two holes-in-one in the same round”

    • I think you reversed these numbers. “One and the same” is ten times more common at least. Try google ngram or COCA, to eliminate irrelevant occurrences of the same string.

  5. “one in the same” doesn’t “sort of makes sense”. It makes sense; if you can’t figure out why, maybe consider reading a book.

  6. JPReturns says:

    I suspect that “one in the same” is actually correct. In a conversation you might be talking with a person who has no idea that Annakin Skywalker grew up to be Darth Vader. In that case, Annakin and Darth are one PERSON in the same BODY, ellipsized to “one in the same.” Exactly the same person. Now, consider a dozen eggs. Tell someone you “need a dozen eggs” and they tell you they “only have 12” for sale are they the same eggs in the physical shells? Who cares? It’s a metaphysical question. But, they’re equal in number, which is the focus of the statement.

  7. KW Crosby says:

    I think both make perfect sense. I just saw “one in the same person” in a financial advice column and it sounded like the more exact meaning than “one and the same person” would have. Before I saw that I would have said that it was incorrect, but I can see both now.

  8. The Salon example is blatantly wrong in context because the TEA Party is only about out of control government spending selling our future generations out to massive debt so we can live big now. Sure, an 18 trillion dollar debt is immoral, but that’s as far as the TEA Party goes in to moral issues.

    Some call themselves Tea Party republicans, but notice the use of “Tea”? The real TEA Party is an acronym meaning “Taxed Enough Already”. Also there is no national leadership, it’s a grass roots movement that has nothing to do with Republicans really.

    They are NOT “one and the same”.

  9. peter the pedant says:

    The phrase is one and the same, but people speaking naturally will abbreviate “and” to ‘n’ and so say one ‘n’ the same … but they’re not saying one in the same, that’s ridiculous. That makes no more sense than fish in chips or salt in pepper. Just because you can retrospectively rationalise (shoe horn) some sense into the erroneous phrase doesn’t make it correct. People are just writing what they hear, it’s the same phenomenon with people who write “should of”, when they mean should’ve … it’s utterly moronic.

    • KW Crosby says:

      I think you are right under most circumstances, but there are clearly times when the meaning requires “one in the same” as in my example above. But as you pointed out, 99% of people are just parroting a phrase they’ve heard, not thinking anything at all, so for all intents and purposes (or as you would spell it on the internet “intensive purposes” LOL) “one and the same” is the correct usage. IMO..

      • peter the pedant says:

        I think pedants like myself need to accept that language evolves, even if it does so in a corrupted fashion, and that as long as the general intent is understood then perhaps it doesn’t really matter. If “everyeone” is getting it “wrong”, who’s to say what’s right? It’s still interesting to discuss and debate though, and I think we’re obligated to at least try to show people the light :)

        I do think “one in the same” is a stretch, even if you may be able to rationalise it. I’d say in most cases you could substitute the “correct” phrase and it’ll usually work. I can see how “Clark Kent and Superman are one in the same person” seems logical, but I far prefer “one and the same”.

        Just for fun, what’s your take on “I could/couldn’t care less”? I’m British and “couldn’t” feels like the most sensible option. “I care so little about this that I really could not care less”. I believe “could” is more widely used in America, but to me it makes no sense. “You know what, I want to imply that I don’t care about this thing, but in truth I could care less. There is less that I could care, and therefore I do actually care a little”. The justification I’ve heard is the Americans use it sarcastically but I think it’s more often the case, as you suggest with “one in the same”, that people are just parroting the phrase without really considering the meaning. Yet it’s so widely used that everyone understands what it means, and it means what the British version means … and so I wonder why they just don’t use that? :)

        • Haha I’m pretty sure I grew up saying, with no small amount of juvenile sarcasm, “I could CARE less!” By the time I stopped to think about it, it made no sense to me and I’ve said “I couldn’t care less” ever since. So it sounds like a schoolyard taunt to me.

          You just can’t say the correct phrase with the same heavy sarcasm, you know? Not a very good justification of course. :)

          Mostly I think Americans are just lazy and thoughtless in their speech and that’s the real reason for most illogical phrases becoming mainstream.

  10. oDevastatedo says:

    If I say ” selfishness and altruism are one and the same with in a human” is that grammatically correct?

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