Difference Between Each Other and One Another

Illustration depicting the difference between "each other" and "one another" in English grammar for English teachers and learners.

Introduction


There is often confusion over the terms ”each other” and ”one another”. However, in most forms of English, including American English, the two phrases have the same meaning. They are both used when referring to two or more people doing something together or reciprocating an action.

The answer to which one is the correct term to use depends on the context. This article will look at the difference between each other” and ”one another”, when to use each, and some examples of each idiom in sentences.

American English ESL Lesson Plan

Table of the differences between “Each Other” and “One Another”

 

Each Other vs. One Another

 

Each other

One another

Usage

Both are reciprocal pronouns. This type of pronoun indicates that two or more entities perform the same action on “each other”. For example, “Two magnets repel each other,” or “Our friends have been arguing with one another.”

Less formal and more commonly used.

More formal and less commonly used.

When discussing two people or things, “each other” is more applicable.

“One another” is more relevant when discussing more than two people or things.

 

When to use “Each Other” and “One Another”

The difference in usage between the two phrases is subtle. As we”ve highlighted above, the two phrases have little difference and can be used interchangeably. However, in American English, ”each other” is used more frequently in general, especially when only two people are involved. In contrast, ”one another” becomes more acceptable to use when there are three or more people involved.

 

How to use “Each Other” and “One Another”

The primary difference between ”each other” and ”one another” is that “each other” is more frequently used when referring to two people only, whereas “one another” is used when referring to more than two people. For example, you might say, “John and Jane are fighting with “each other,” to describe a disagreement between two people. Alternatively, you might say, “The team members are helping “one another,” to describe how everyone on the team works together.

Here are some further examples:

  • The couple held hands with each other as they walked down the aisle.
  • We need to start supporting each other if we”re going to get through this tough time.
  • The siblings always fought with each other when they were growing up.
  • They often send letters to each other since living in different countries.
  • The employees have been working closely with one another since the merger.
  • We need to be honest with one another if we”re going to make this relationship work.
  • In the meeting, everyone was encouraged to listen to one another respectfully.
  • The players on the team motivate one another to perform their best.

“Each other” is more commonly used than one another, especially in American English. It can be used with both singular and plural pronouns and nouns.

“One another” is not as common as ”each other” in both British and American English, although it is used more readily in British English. It is used with both singular and plural pronouns and nouns as well.

 

Incorrect ways to use “Each Other” and “One Another”

It should be clear now that using either phrase is correct English grammar and that both terms can be used interchangeably, with a preference for using ”each other” when discussing only two people. However, it is still possible to go wrong in different ways with both phrases.

It would be incorrect to join the two words or use a hyphen. They also cannot be pluralized. The following are incorrect:

  • Eachother
  • Each-other
  • Oneanother
  • One-another
  • Each others
  • One anothers

“Each Other” vs. “One Another” - Conclusion

In summary, both ”each other” and ”one another” are grammatically correct, and you can use them interchangeably. American English generally prefers “each other” when discussing two people, whereas “one another” is more common when talking about more than two people.




 


 

Date: October 21st, 2022

Author: Research Team AmeriLingua


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