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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

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 ^_^

Hello Didovido

Thanks very much for pointing that out to us! You are right, that was not correct -- I'm very sorry if that caused you any confusion.

The error has now been corrected. Thanks again!

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

It seem to me there is an inaccuracy on the description. could you check me if functions of both each other and one another is confused. thanks for attention.

Hello authentic_imaginer,
The descriptions are correct. Traditionally, the uses are as follows:
>> each other - two people
>> one another - more than two people
I think the examples could be clearer so I have edited them slightly.
~
Please note that, as the page states, this distinction is disappearing and the two forms are used largely interchangeably.

~
Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. Is there any difference between "Can anyone lend me a bit of money?" and "Can somone lend me a bit of money?". Thank you.

Hi again Eugene Yezhov

There is a slight difference. If you use 'someone' it can mean that you expect a person to say yes or that you are trying to persuade a person to say yes. 'anyone' is more neutral or factual -- it doesn't indicate anything about the speaker's expectations or wishes. Otherwise they mean the same thing.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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