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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 talk to each other regularly.
      = John talks to Fred and Fred talks to John.
John and Fred regularly talk to themselves.
      = John talks to himself and Fred talks to himself.

Reciprocal pronouns 2

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Comments

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

Hello newbietrk,

In the explanation, when it says 'Traditionally, each other refers to two people and one another refers to more than two people, but this distinction is disappearing in modern English', this means that both forms are often used with the same meaning these days.

In the instructions for the task, however, it says that you should make the traditional distinction, i.e. use 'each other' for two people and 'one another' for three people or more.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

In question no 4, there are 3 people, more than 2... but why, we should use each other ?
Thank you, i hope i will get answer for you all...

Hello Gibrastr,

As it says above, the distinction between the two forms is disappearing - in other words, 'each other' can be used for three or more people as well nowadays.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello ashehadeh,

Now that I look at this more carefully, in question 4, there are only two people: Jack and me. The sentence includes the word 'you', but it refers to Jack, i.e. the sentence is addressed to Jack.

Since there are two people and you are to use the traditional form, 'each other' is the correct answer.

Sorry for the confusion!

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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