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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

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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

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Comments

Hi medmomo,

'meet' has several different meanings, but here it probably means that it was the first time your parents and girlfriend saw and spoke to each other. It's hard to be sure without knowing the context.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sirs,

Peter and Marry helped one another.

If we concern to grammartical in traditionally, I think we should use EACH OTHER instead of ONE ANOTHER, because there are only two people who are mentioned in here.

Is my thinking correct?

Thanks.

Hello hoamuoigio,

That is correct. However, as we say on the page above, this is a rule which is disappearing from the language and the two forms are now used interchangeably.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir,

I almost clear, thank you sir.

Regards

Peter And marry helped one another, why we don't say each other?
All my greats

Hello Mohamed,

You can say 'each other' or 'one another' in the sentence you ask about. As is explained above, traditionally 'each other' was the preferred form for a sentence like this, but nowadays most people don't recognise this difference.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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

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

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