Each Other vs. One Another: Is There A Difference?

Coffee MeetingThe English language is full of words that either sound alike but have different meanings — perspective vs. prospective, for example — or that seem so similar, it’s hard to know which to use.

When do you say each other, and when do you say one another? The grammar police won’t show up at your door if you make the wrong choice, but knowing the subtle difference shows attention to detail, a desired trait in any organization.

When Josh gazes into Jessica’s eyes as they talk about meeting for coffee, they look at each other.
(Two people look at each other.)

When Josh, Jessica and Jeremy meet to discuss where to have lunch, they look at one another.
(More than two people look at one another.)

Either may be used when taking about an indefinite number of people:
We talk to each other.
They talk to one another.

This week ends with one of my favorite holidays: Grammar Day! I’m keeping this post short so you have time to check out my special Grammar Day message on LinkedIn:

What Do You Mean College Grads Can’t Write?!

You’ll learn what teachers and those in business say about today’s education, the influence of social media, and the kinds of writers we’re producing.

And, yes, we’re in trouble.

If you value what you find, whether in this post about each other vs. one another or in my special Grammar Day message, please share it with colleagues and friends.

And watch for details about my soon-to-be-published book: Grammar For People Who Hate Rules, which will be available on Amazon this spring.

Yes, grammar still matters.

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Kathy Watson

Kathy Watson has a love/hate relationship with grammar; she loves words and the punctuation that helps them make sense, yet she hates those pesky rules. A self-proclaimed ruthless editor, she prefers standard usage guidelines of The Associated Press Stylebook. Her easy-to-use Grammar for People Who Hate Rules helps people write and speak with authority and confidence. She encourages and welcomes questions and comments. (Email)