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

Comments

Hello Sir,

what is the meaning of the verb (met) in this sentence : Last night I (met)my girlfriend's parents and she (met) mine.

Best wishes.

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

Thank you very match

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

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