Reciprocal pronoun

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Reciprocal Pronoun Quiz
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Reciprocal pronouns are a fundamental part of English grammar, facilitating clear communication about mutual actions or feelings between two or more people. These pronouns are essential for both spoken and written English. In this article, you will learn the rules of using reciprocal pronouns, common mistakes, and practical tips to master their usage.

What is a Reciprocal Pronoun?

There are two reciprocal pronouns in the English language, which are “each other” and “one another.” They help to indicate a two-way relationship or actions between people or things. “Each other” is used when referring to two subjects, while “one another” is used to indicate more than two people or objects.


Reciprocal Pronouns Rules

Although “each other” and “one another” play different roles, they are used interchangeably in modern language. It often confuses the meaning of the sentence. That is why it’s crucial to differentiate these pronouns and use them correctly, following such rules:

  1. Number of parties. Use “each other” when there are two subjects in a sentence and “one another” when there are more than two subjects.
    1. Football team players wished one another luck.
    2. Bob and Alice hugged each other.
  2. Position in a sentence. Both pronouns typically follow the verb they relate to. 
  3. Context. Match the pronoun with the context. If it’s unclear how many people or things were mentioned, the pronoun may serve as a clue. For example:
    1. They smiled at each other. (in this context, “each other” indicates that two people smiled).
    2. They smiled at one another. (here, “one another” indicates that there are more than two people).

As it was said today, it’s not a mistake to use these pronouns interchangeably in casual conversations. However, in formal writing, it is vital to follow the rules. Otherwise, your message might be understood incorrectly.

Discover Reciprocal Pronoun Rules

Common Mistakes and Tips for Mastery

One of the most common mistakes among English language learners is using these two pronouns in a singular context. For example, “I smiled at each other” is an incorrect sentence since there’s no second subject in it. Remember that “each other” and “one another” are used in plural contexts only. 

Another common mistake is the incorrect usage of reciprocal pronouns in a possessive form. Many English speakers put the apostrophe after every word in both phrases. However, you should put the apostrophe and “s” only at the end of the phrase.

  • They borrowed each’s other’s books. (incorrect)
  • They borrowed each other’s books. (correct.)

The best way to remember the correct usage of both pronouns is to read authentic English books and listen to conversations on podcasts or movies. You will find a lot of natural use of reciprocal pronouns there. 


By understanding and applying these guidelines, you can avoid common mistakes and master the use of reciprocal pronouns. This knowledge will enhance your English communication skills, making your writing and speech more precise and natural.

Reciprocal Pronoun Quiz
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