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Expressions Using “Other" | (Intermediate) | Page 3

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Some idiomatic expressions using “other” or “another” have very specific meanings. These should be learned as expressions.

Let’s examine some common expressions using “another” first. They can be useful in everyday conversations. Some may also be used in writing.

Expressions in This Lesson

”at each other’s throats”

When two people are visibly and seriously angry at each other, you can say they are “at each other’s throats.”

Example sentences

Jack and Lin were at each other’s throats all day yesterday. I’m afraind they’ll end up breaking up.

My coworker and I could not agree on the direction of the project. In fact, we’ve been at each other’s throats all week.


”every other”

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.

Example Sentences
  • 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.)

”have one’s mind on other things”

If you “have your mind on other things,” it means you are distracted or you are not able to focus very well.

Example sentences

I haven’t been able to pay much attention to school lately. I’ve had my mind on other things.

You’ve been making careless mistakes. You seem to have your mind on other things.


”in one ear and out the other”

When people say hear something someone says and immediately forget what they said, they will probably describe your behavior as, “It’s in one ear and out the other.”

Sometimes you give people advice, but they completely ignore it. You can say to them, “it’s in one ear and out the other.”

Example sentences

I’ve been trying to help you decide but it’s like in one ear and out the other, so why do you keep asking me what yo should do?

I was trying to persuade Jack to fix his relationship problems, but it’s in one ear and out the other with him.

”none other than”

Sometimes you introduce someone who is unexpected but easy to recognize. You can use “none other than” and identify the person. You are then showing some surprise or amazement.

Other times, you run into someone unexpectedly. Using this expression, you show you are surprised or amazed to see that person.

Example sentences

I can’t believe Maria invited none other than her ex-boyfriend to her wedding.

After weeks of investigations, they found out that the killer was none other than the victim’s best friend.

Wow! Looks who it is! None other than my college room mate!


”something or other”

"Something or other" refers to someone indeterminate. It’s just something that may not be important to remember or mention.

Example sentences

Ann and I were chatting about something or other when Jack came in and told us about the accident.

I’m exhausted. My friend and I stayed up late last night talking about something or other.

The Other Night, The Other Day

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.

Example Sentences
  • 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.

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.

Example Sentences
  • 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, you should serve salad first, then soup after the main entree.

— No. Actually, it’s the other way around. You should start with soup.


”this and that” or “this, that, and the other”

When someone talks about many different things, but you do not want to mention exactly what, you can say, “They were talking about this, that, and the other.”

Depending on the context, saying “this, that, and the other” may express a lack of interest in what someone was saying.

Example sentences

Bob was upset, complaining about his job, his brother-in-law, this, that, and the other. I think he needs a vacation!

Professor Ecks was complaining about this, that, and the other. I’m not really sure. I wasn’t paying attention.

Assess Your Learning

Practice 1. Exercise using simple sentences. (this page)

Practice 2. Exercise using more complex sentences.

Practice 3. Exercise using complex sentences.

Practice 4. Exercise focusing on expressions using “another” and “other.”

Note to instructors: Some exercise items may have multiple answers depending on how learners interpret the context. These instances offer good opportunities for learners to discuss how the context determines the word or phrase they chose.

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