We use the reciprocal pronouns each other and one another when two or more people do the same thing. Traditionally, each other refers to two people and one another refers to more than two people, but this distinction is disappearing in modern English.

  • Peter and Mary helped one another.
    Peter helped Mary and Mary helped Peter.
  • We sent each other Christmas cards.
    We sent them a Christmas card and they sent us a Christmas card.
  • They didn’t look at one another.
    = He didn't look at her and she didn't look at him.

We also use the possessive forms each other’s and one another’s:

They helped to look after each other’s children.
We often stayed in one another’s houses.

NOTE: We do not use reciprocal pronouns as the subject of a clause.

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

Hello Teacher,
I confused the usage of each other and one another. for example, which one is right:
1. I love Sagal to each other
2. sagal loved me to each other.

also when i want to make possessive, may I use like this:
for example; Sagal took to my car each other's or
Sagal and I took car to one another's

Hello Issa,

The subject of the verb must be plural ('we', 'you' or 'they') when you use 'each other' or 'one another'. So you could say 'Sagal and I love each other', for example, or 'We love each other'. The possessive form also only makes sense when you are referring to more than one thing or person. For example 'Sagal and I took each other's cars' means Sagal took my car and I took her car.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

now, I understood well. Many thanks to my dear teacher.

Hello

I don't understand clearly the difference between One another / each other / and Each Other's / One another's /
Please can you explain me a bit clearly the difference ?

Thank you in advance.

Hello karogrig,

There used to be a clear difference between each other and one another, as the page says:

Traditionally, each other refers to two people and one another refers to more than two people

However, this distinction is disappearing. In modern English the two forms are generally used interchangeably without any difference in meaning.

 

The forms each other's and one another's are possessive forms. For example:

Bob and John drove each other's cars for a week.

The meaning here is that Bob drove John's car and John drove Bob's car for a week.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello
Sorry but I don't understand
Do they mean that in modern English :one another refers to two people and each other refers to more than two people??
Thanks in advance

Hello Marwa1083,

It used to be the case that each other referred to two people and one another referred to more than two people. However, in modern English this distinction is disappearing and nowadays there is no difference in how the two phrases are used; both can be used for two people or for more than two people.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi there,

In the questions to complete about reciprocal pronouns, question number 4 is ok as "I gave him a present and he gave me a present. We gave each other presents."

I'd like to know your opinion on "I gave him a present and he gave me a present. We gave presents to each other."

Thank you in advance for your answer.

Jorge

Hi Jorge,

That is fine. You can use both constructions with give:

give someone something

give something to someone

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you for your reply, Peter.

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