Reciprocal Pronouns

Reciprocal Pronouns
Reciprocal Pronouns

Level: intermediate

We use the reciprocal pronouns each other and one another when two or more people do the same thing.

Peter and Mary helped each other.
Peter helped Mary and Mary helped Peter.
We sent one another Christmas cards.
We sent them a Christmas card and they sent us a Christmas card.
They didn’t look at each other.
X didn’t look at Y and Y didn’t look at X.

We also use the possessive forms each other’s and one another’s:

They helped to look after each other’s children.
The group of students often stayed in one another’s houses.

Note that we do not use reciprocal pronouns as the subject of a clause.

Be careful!
Reciprocal pronouns and plural reflexive pronouns (ourselves, yourselves, themselves) have different meanings:

John and Fred talk to each other regularly.
= John talks to Fred and Fred talks to John.
John and Fred regularly talk to themselves.
= John talks to himself and Fred talks to himself.

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