"Each other" or "One another"

When you say “each other”, it means there are only two people that you’re referring to. When you say “one another“, it indicates that there are more than two.

(a) Each other:

Look at these examples:

  1. Peter and Jane never talk to each other. (√)
  2. Both of them are helping each other to do their homework. (√)
  3. Peter and Jane never talk to one another. (X)

In Example #1, the sentence means that Peter never talks to Jane, and Jane never talks to Peter. In Example #2, X is helping Y, and Y is helping X to do their homework. Example #3 is wrong because there are only two people in the sentence, so you cannot use “one another”.

(b) One another:

Look at these examples:

  1. Ahmad, Ben, Chin and Dominic are telling one another their family history. (√)
  2. Ahmad, Ben, Chin and Dominic are telling each other their family history. (X)

In the Example #1, the sentence means that Ahmad is telling Ben about his family history, Chin is doing the same with Dominic, then Dominic tells his family history to Ben and so on. They are taking turns to tell about their family history. In Example #2, the sentence is wrong because there are more than two people mentioned in the sentence. Hence, you cannot use “each other”.

Are you still confused? 😀

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Posted on July 21, 2009, in Word Power and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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