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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

Hello ahmad.y.alali,

The problem here is the word 'present'. This should be plural as there were two different present being exchanged. That said, I think many people in everyday conversation would say 'a present', so your sentence sounds quite natural even if 'presents' would strictly be the correct word.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,

Is "We gave each other presents" and "We gave each other a present" different?

Cesar

Hi Cesar98,

The first sentence could refer to multiple presents - we gave each other ten presents, for example. Other than that, there is no difference.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everyone!! I am a newbie. I am glad I found this website.
By the way, I am always confused about how to say the phrase: "This past few days or these past few days?"
Thank you :)

Hello Khimaaru,

'this' is used with singular nouns and 'these' is used with plural nouns. 'past few days' is plural and so 'these' is the correct form.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi there, please help me with this sentence, I'm very very confused with it

A: "Jack wasn't at the party last night"
B: "No, I wasn't either"

The problem is if say "NO", I think it means "he was at the party last night because I was there too) however "I wasn't either" has a opposite meaning with "NO"

Thanks!

Hello Joong Myn,

In tis context it's fine to answer in this way. When you say 'No' here you are actually agreeing with what A has said as it was a negative statement; it's not disagreeing.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I don't understand why the given examples don't match the explanations, but even more, they are exactly the opposite! I've read some complaints about it and the reply was that you can use both. So what is the sense of all of it? You'd have to say, use both indistinctly, period. If not, give the examples according to the explanations. I think you have to change them, because you are contributing to confusion and you were asked to clarify!

I like it

i couldn't understand exactly.what is the difference between one another and each other.in the task how can we decide which is true which is wrong :S

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