Sense 2a is usually a sign of a formal style. A formal style excludes the participation of the reader or hearer; thus one is used where a less formal style might address the reader directly.
This generic one has never been common in informal use in either British or American English, and people who start sentences with one often shift to another pronoun more natural to casual discourse.
Use of one to replace a first-person pronoun—sense 2b—has occasionally been criticized. It is more common in British English than in American.
Examples of one in a Sentence
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'one.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.