Difference between Other, Another, the Other, Others | Part 2
Expressions Using “Other” or “Another”
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Some expressions in English use “other” or “another” and have a specific meaning. These should be learned as expressions.
Let’s examine some common expressions that people use in everyday conversations.
Each Other and One Another
You use each other to show that the action is mutual or reciprocal. For example, if John sees Mary and Mary sees John, they see each other.
You use one another meaning the same as “each other” when more than two people or things are involved.
Important! In some grammar books, you may see the above distinction between “each other” (referring to two) and “one another” (referring to more than two), but such a distinction is not observed. You can use them interchangeably.
- They love each other.
- We saw each other on the bus.
- My boss and I very often disagree with each other, but we also respect each other’s opinions.
- My best friend and I talk to each other on the phone every day.
- My brothers and sisters live all over the world. We only see one another on Christmas.
- School children make fun of one another all the time.
- My students help one another study for the exam.
- Students can get in trouble if they copy one another’s work.
In all the above example, you can use each other and one another interchangeably without any differences in meaning.
You use every other to talk about every second item in a sequence or series. For example, if you visit your grandparents every other weekend, you visit them one weekend, skip the next weekend, and so on.
- I go to the gym every other day.
(For example, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday)
- When I was a child, I stayed with my grandparents in Japan every other summer.
(I stayed with them one summer but not the next.)
- I get a haircut every other week.
(I get a haircut every two weeks.)
- If you count starting from 1, every other number is an odd number.
(The numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and so on are odd numbers.)
The Other Way Around
The other way around means the opposite position, direction or oder. If think something in one order, but you find out that it is actually “the other way around,” then it is in the reverse order.
- Why did you set the table with the fork on the right and the knife on the left? It should be the other way around.
(It should be the fork on the left and the knife on the right.)
- Your children should do what you tell them to do, not the other way around.
(Your children are telling you what to do!)
- In the United States, people eat a small lunch and a large dinner. In other countries, it is the other way around.
(In other countries, people eat a large lunch and a small dinner.)
Example Dialog 1
— Did you learn French first, then English?
— No, it was the other way around. (I learned English first.)
Example Dialog 2
— In a formal dinner, should you serve salad first and soup after the main entree?
— No, it’s the other way around. You should start with soup.
The Other Night, The Other Day
The other night and the other day means one day (or one night) recently or a short time ago. These expressions must be used in the past.
In some cases, you can also use it with other time expressions such as the other weekend or the other month, but using it with “day” or “night” is more common.
Using “just” emphasizes that the action happened not very long ago.
- John and I met for coffee the other day when he told me about his plans.
- I called you at work the other day, but you were not there.
- What a surprise to see you! We were talking about you just the other day.
- I was watching a movie the other weekend, when I got a call from my boss.