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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


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




Thank you very much.

The animals looked at each other | looked at one another. Why it does not score me

Hello ihsan69,

Both of those answers are correct. I've just tried the exercise and it shows both 'looked at each other' and 'looked at one another' as correct. If you press Finish, and then press Show Answers, it shows both of these as correct. Did you perhaps write both answers at the same time in the gap? If so, that's must be the problem – you should only write one correct answer, not all correct answers.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi! I don't understand.. the rule says: each other refers to two people and one another refers to more than two people, and the example: Peter and Mary helped one another....why not each other ?? if it referes two people

Hello PaolaPao,

This is explained above where 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, for the most part, both forms are used without the difference in meaning nowadays.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


hello all i did get the first one but each other’s and one another’s l didn't get it and one more thing l know that one anothe is use in case if we have more than two people or things is that right ?

Hello naeli,

As the page says, 

Traditionally, each other refers to two people and one another refers to more than two people

However, note that this distinction is disappearing in modern English.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

l got it. thank you very much indeed peter M

Hello there. .
One is for your bags,the other is for you.
How many noun phrases are In this sentence?
Is the word (other)in this sentence classified as a pronoun?

Hello jay bee,

This kind of parsing is not something we deal with on this site - and we also try not to answer questions which we think come from people's homework or tests, and this looks like one of those!


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team