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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,
in the first exercise, in number 4, is it correct if I say "We gave each other a present"? because the answer shown as correct is "We gave each other presents"

Thank you c:

Hello sofiabravo,

That could possibly be correct in an unusual situation, i.e. one where you and the other person both spent money on the same present that you then share together. But otherwise, when you give one present to the other person, and the other person gives a present to you (notice there are two presents), the plural is the correct form.

Does that make sense?

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

It's really fantastic.

Hello,

In the first exercise "Reciprocal pronouns 1". Can I say in number 6 " My brother and I used to borrow clothes from each other" it is shown to be incorrect, can you please help me understand why?

Thank you.

Hello H_L,

Yes, that is correct. The expected answer is '...borrow each other's clothes' but your answer is also fine.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Greetings,gentlemen.Would you kindly answer my question abiut usage I am a bit confused.In this sentence,The students should try their best so that they ___ be ready for the exam,should we use will or would in the blank?Also,please check if this sentence makes any sense and correct if it does not,This computer does not hold as few updated applications as that one

Hello Tobias Hein,

There are several possible options. You could use a regular present form ('are') or a modal with future meaning ('will'). 'Would' does not fit here as it suggests an impossible or entirely hypothetical action, not a real possibility.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,team of English.
I have several questions that makes me confused.
First,The villagers helped each other/one another in their work.Which pronoun should be use in this sentence?Or can we use both?
And if we use after grammar pattern,is it okay if the sentences joined together are not the same subject?
Thanks for taking in interest

Hello Tobias,

In the past there was a distinction made between each other and one another, but this is no longer relevant in modern English and the two are used interchangeably. Thus, both forms can be used in your sentence.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'after grammar patter' in your second question. Perhaps you could provide an example, and then we'll be happy to try to answer.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
In the explanation above, there's this example: "They didn't look at each another." I know we can use EACH OTHER or ONE ANOTHER, but here you used EACH anOTHER, is this a typo? Or is it totally right?
Thanks ^_^

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