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Difference between Other, Another, the Other, Others

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Other, another, the other, and others have different meanings and are used differently in English.

Let’s examine these words and see how they are used depending on where they appear in the sentence.

“Other” as a Determiner

Other means additional , alternative, or different types of something.

It is used

  • with singular noncount nouns (other music, other news, other information) or
  • with plural nouns (other colors, other types, other words).

Example sentences using other with noncount nouns

  • There is a lot of bad news in the papers this this week, but other news makes you feel better. (additional or alternative news)
  • This online store sells rock music. It sells no other music. (no other types of music)
  • You can learn about English-language courses on this page. Click the “information” button if you are looking for other information. (additional or extra information)
  • Do you have any other luggage? (additional)

Example sentences using other with plural nouns

  • My students have read three books by Mark Twain. They want to read other writers now. (additional or alternative writers)
  • I’m happy with my job, but I’m looking for other professional opportunities. (additional or alternative)

“The Other” as Determiners

When you use other before a singular count noun, you usually need to use an article before it. It can also be used to give an additional choice or alternative, usually when there are two alternatives. It can also mean different types of something.

Example sentences using other with singular contable nouns and a determiner

  • This door is locked. Please use the other door. (the alternative)
  • Would you like to read this book or the other one? (an alternative among two)
  • John has two brothers. One lives in Chicago, and the other just moved to Miami. (additional between two choices)
  • This dictionary has simple definitions. The other dictionary is more difficult to read. (additional between two choices)
  • This information is very important. The other information is good to know. (the additional or the other type of information)

Another

When you use the indefinite article an before other, you write it as one word: another. The meaning is similar to the other, but it means one more or an alternative or an additional.

Example sentences using another

  • I love this coffee. May I have another cup?
  • It’s too noisy here to have a conversation. Can we go to another coffee shop?
  • I’m too busy today. Can we meet for dinner another day?
  • Oh no! I’m getting old! I just found another white hair. (an additional one among others)

“Other,” “Another,” and “Others” as Pronouns

In the above examples, “other” and “another” is used with a noun (e.g., “another cup of coffee” or “the other door”). However, you can use “other” and “another” to replace the noun, which makes it a pronoun.

When used as pronouns, you can use “other” in the plural form others.

Example sentences with other and another used as pronouns

  • I don’t like this dictionary. Do you have another? (another dictionary)
  • After you finish reading this book, you should start reading another. (another book)
  • After you finish reading this book, you should start reading the other(the other one of two books)
  • You’re the only one here. Where are the others? (the other people)
  • I went out with my friends yesterday. Some of us left after 10 but others stayed until midnight. (other of us)
  • John has two houses. One is in the city, and the other is in the mountains. (the other house)

Two or More Choices or Alternatives

When you have many choices, you talk about one, another, another, and finally the other. “The other” signals the last alternative or item.

When you have only two choices, you talk about one and the other. Again, “the other” signals the last alternative or item.

Compare these example sentences

Example 1

  • One of my brothers lives in Chicago. The other lives in Miami.
    (I have only two brothers.)
  • One of my brothers lives in Chicago. Another lives in Miami.
    (These are only two among many brothers.)

Example 2

  • One of my students earned a perfect score on his exam. The other earned zero!
    (I have two students.)
  • One of my students had a perfect score on his exam. Another earned a zero!
    (I have many students, but I’m talking only about two of them.)

Example 3. Trying on T-shirts at a clothing store:

  • I don’t like this color. May I try it in the other color?
    (There are only two colors.)
  • I don’t like this color. May I try it in another color?
    (There are more than two colors.)

Expressions Using “Other” or “Another”

Continue the lesson to learn expressions in English using “other” or “another.”

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