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Personal Pronouns (Reciprocal Case) | (A-Level, Basic)

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Prerequisites: For this lesson, you should know subjective personal pronouns, objective personal pronouns, and possessive determiners. (Links open in a new tab.)

Summary: Reciprocal Pronouns

Person Two People More than Two
First Plural we love each other we love one another
Second Plural you love each other you love one another
Third Plural they love each other they love one another

Note. In modern English, people no longer make the distinction between “each other” and “one another.”

This lesson has exercises.

Reciprocal Pronouns: Each Other and One Another

When you do something for people and they do something for you, you have a reciprocal relationship.

We use “each other” and “one another” to express reciprocal relationships. You can use “each other” when two people are involved and “one another” when more than two people are involved.

In practice, however, most people do no make a difference between “each other” and “one another” when they speak or write.


Examples using “each other” and “one another”


The examples below show the difference in meaning between “each other” and “one another.” However, remember that most people do not make a difference between them. You can say “Mark and Janet love each other” or “Mark and Janet love one another.”

Each other (two people)

Mark and Janet love each other.
(He loves her, and she loves him.)

Mark and Janet are looking at each other.
(He is looking at her, and she is looking at him.)

They are going to kiss each other.
(He is going to kiss her, and she is going to kiss him.)


One another (more than two people)

We all help one another at work.
(Everyone helps everyone else.)

We work together with one another every day.
(Everyone works together with everyone else.)

Tom, Jane, and Mark talk to one another about their projects.
(Tom talks to Jane, Jane talks to Tom, Tom talks to Mark, and so on…)


Other examples

We have each other’s phone numbers.
(She has my phone number, and I have her phone number.)

Do you know each other?
(Do you know him, and does he know you?)

Everyone in my office knows one another very well.

Compare reciprocal, reflexive, and other pronouns

When people say, for example, “The students are teaching themselves,” the meaning can be a little ambiguous. They may be saying that

  • “Each student is teaching himself or herself,” or
  • ”Each student is teaching all the other students.”

When you use “each other," you make the reciprocal meaning clear,

  • The students are teaching each other.
Comparing other pronouns

Mary loves her brother.
She loves him.

Mary loves Mary. (same person)
She loves herself.

Mary loves Mary, and Peter loves Peter. (same people)
They love themselves.

Mary loves Peter, and Peter loves Mary
They love each other (or one another).

He loves her company, she loves his company, (and so on).
They love each other’s company (or one another’s company).


Practice 1. Fill in the blanks with reciprocal pronouns.

Practice 2. Answer questions using reciprocal pronouns.

Related Content

Idiomatic expressions using “each other” (new tab). Learn the meaning of expressions such as “to be at each other’s throats,” “to have each other’s backs,” and “to bump into each other.”

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