We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.
The next few posts in our grammar series will be devoted to misused pairs of terms. Since I’ll be covering one pair at a time, these posts will generally be pretty brief, but that doesn’t make them any less important.
Today, we’re going to talk about the words we use to cover the interactions of two or more people. For some reason, this is an area we seem to get wrong more often than we get it right.
We’re going to talk about the terms each other and one another. These two terms seem to be misused about as often as they are used correctly. We often use them interchangeably, but they are not the same.
Each other specifically deals with the interaction of two people. Exactly two. Bill and I send each other Christmas cards. Ken and Barbie love each other. These are statements concerning the relationships or actions of pairs of people.
One another, on the other hand, deals with more than two people. The members of my writers’ group enjoy one another’s company. My cousins and I have always been close to one another. Statements concerning the relationships or actions of more than two people.
It is always incorrect to say one another when discussing only two people, and it is just as wrong to say each other when dealing with groups larger than two. Each other involves two, one another involves more than two.
Let’s all learn this simple rule of word usage so we can write more intelligent and coherent prose.
What grammatical misuse bothers you? What particular area of grammar would you like help with? I’d love to hear and help.
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