Reciprocal Pronouns

What Are Reciprocal Pronouns? (with Examples)

A reciprocal pronoun expresses a mutual action or relationship. In English, the reciprocal pronouns are:

Examples of Reciprocal Pronouns

Here are some examples of reciprocal pronouns:

Each Other or One Another?

Here's the quick answer: If the antecedent is two things, use each other. If it's more than two, use one another.

Here's a longer explanation:

A reciprocal pronoun is used when at least one thing reciprocates another's action (i.e., does the same thing back). As a result, the antecedent of a reciprocal pronoun (i.e., what it refers back to) is always something plural. For example: When the antecedent is two things (like in both examples above), use each other as the reciprocal pronoun. However, when the antecedent is three or more things, use one another.

Look at these examples: Note: If your readers pull you up for using the wrong reciprocal pronoun, then you have some world-class grammar pedants on your hands.

Each Other's Not Each Others'

The pronouns each other and one another are singular entities (despite having plural antecedents). Therefore, when showing possession, the apostrophe comes before the s. This is a 100% rule.

A Quick Test

Note: The sentences used in this test are genuine quotes. You will notice that a couple do not follow the rule for using each other and one another. This rule is so badly observed, many do not consider it a rule at all.

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See Also

What is an antecedent? What are pronouns? Demonstrative pronouns Indefinite pronouns Interrogative pronouns Personal pronouns Possessive pronouns Relative pronouns Reflexive pronouns Glossary of grammatical terms