What Are Reciprocal Pronouns? (with Examples)
Reciprocal PronounsA reciprocal pronoun is used to express a mutual action or relationship. There are two reciprocal pronouns:
- Each other
- One another
Easy Examples of Reciprocal PronounsHere are some easy examples of the reciprocal pronoun each other. Use each other when there are two things.
- Jack and Jill hate each other. (Note that Jack hates Jill, and Jill hates Jack. The action is reciprocated.)
- They gave each other presents.
- Have you seen each other 's solution? (Note: Each other is treated as singular. Therefore, the possessive apostrophe is placed before the s.)
- The crayfish started eating one another. The team members played their hearts out for one another.
- They deliberately blocked one another'sproposals.
- The competitors were deliberately blocking one another's view to gain an advantage. (Note: One another is treated as singular. Therefore, the possessive apostrophe is placed before the s.)
Real-Life Examples of Reciprocal PronounsHere are some real-life examples of reciproical pronouns:
- When two people are like each other, they tend to like each other. (US author Tony Robbins)
- Gentlemen don't read each other's mail. (US Secretary of War Henry Stimson)
- Laws, like houses, lean on one another. (Statesman Edmund Burke)
- America is a land of small talk because we won't violate one another's privacies. (Author Karan Mahajan)
Why Should I Care about Reciprocal Pronouns?There are two common questions related to reciprocal pronouns.
(Question 1) Do you write each others' or each other's?Write each other's and one another's. (In other words, put the apostrophe before the s when you need the possessive form.)
- We drink one another's healths and spoil our own. (Author Jerome K Jerome)
(Question 2) What's the difference between each other and one another?Here's the quick answer: If there are two things, use each other. If there are more, use one another.
Here's more: When the antecedent of a reciprocal pronoun is two things, use each other.
- My dog and cat love each other. (The antecedent, i.e., what each other refers to, is two things.)
- My dog, cat, and emu love one another. (The antecedent is three things.)
- I think a couple should complete one another, not compete with one another. (Singer Marie Osmond) (As a couple is two people, each other would have been tidier.)
- Friends are kind to one another's dreams. (Philosopher Henry David Thoreau)
- Friends are kind to each other's dreams. (Both of these could be correct. In the second version, the writer might have been focused on how one person treats another, i.e., two people.)
- Old and young disbelieve one another's truths. (Aphorist Mason Cooley) (Each other could be justified if you envisage an old person disbelieving a young person.)