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Reciprocal pronouns

Level: intermediate

We use the reciprocal pronouns each other and one another when two or more people do the same thing.

Peter and Mary helped each other.
Peter helped Mary and Mary helped Peter.
We sent one another Christmas cards.
We sent them a Christmas card and they sent us a Christmas card.
They didn't look at each other.
X didn't look at Y and Y didn't look at X.

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

They helped to look after each other's children.
The group of students often stayed in one another's houses.

Note that we do not use reciprocal pronouns as the subject of a clause.

Reciprocal pronouns 1


Be careful!

Reciprocal pronouns and plural reflexive pronouns (ourselves, yourselves, themselves) have different meanings:

John and Fred killed each other.
John killed Fred and Fred killed John.
John and Fred killed themselves.
John killed himself and Fred killed himself.

Reciprocal pronouns 2




These reciprocal prnouns got me confused. The definitions above the assignment state the following:
'each other refers to two people.'

The definition is then followed by this example:
'Peter and Mary helped one another.
= Peter helped Mary and Mary helped Peter.'

How come the definition and example do not add up? Peter and Mary are two people, so shouldn't it be 'Peter and Mary helped each other?'. And if not, why is this an exception?

Thanks in advance!

There is difference in examples and definitions. Why is this??

please correct my sentences:
1. There are 3 people coming from 3 countries, they would like to teach one another their languages.
2. There are 3 people coming from 3 countries, they would like to teach one another's languages?

which one is correct? thanks


I would say that the first sentence sounds better than the second one.

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

i have a question about the exercise above:
I didn't speak to you, Jack, and you didn't speak to me.
We didn't speak to ...............
I understand from the rule above that we have to use each other with two people and one another with more than two people, but the right answer of the mentioned question is each other, how is it ?

Hello mana481988,

The answer is 'each other' because there are two people in the sentence: you and me. 'Jack' and 'you' are the same person. We often use people's names in this way. For example, I could say to you:

This answer is for you, mana481988, and I hope it helps.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Teacher,
I read this example of each other and one another , each other and one another used after the past form of verb.
I want to say that we can use like this, example Ahmad and sara helping or help each other's . Thanks please help me

Hi frozan,

I'm not sure I understand your question fully.  The past form of the verb has no effect on how we use 'each other'.  The correct sentence would be without an apostrophe:

Ahmad and Sara are helping each other.


Ahmad and Sara help each other.

Both verb forms are possible, depending on what you wish to say.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team


Oops!!! I wrong somewhere! Why??? I was not well concentrated!!!