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Understanding Reciprocal Pronouns with Examples

Rashmi Sunder May 10, 2019
A pronoun is a word that is used in place of a noun or a noun phrase. But the type of pronoun you use changes with the context. We bring you the definition and examples of reciprocal pronouns, which are used to identify an action or feeling that is reciprocated between two or more people.

Flexible Grammar

Reciprocal pronouns can also be used in their possessive forms, with an apostrophe "s" added to the end of that pronoun.
The English language has a lot of grammatical structure and rules that you have to follow in order for it to make sense. It sometimes gets hard and confusing, which is why it is necessary to take each separate part of speech and understand the basics, in order to be able to form grammatically correct and coherent sentences.
But luckily, not all of them are as confusing or complicated. And that's where reciprocal pronouns come into the picture! But before we discuss that, let us understand what a pronoun really is.
A pronoun is a word that can function as a noun phrase used by itself, and that refers either to the participants in the discourse (example: I, you) or to someone or something mentioned elsewhere in the discourse (example: she, it, this, their).
In simple terms, it is a word that can function as a subject, object, or complement in a sentence, i.e., a substitute for a noun or noun phrase.

There are many types of pronouns, but we will be focusing on the reciprocal kind for now! So what is it exactly?



It is pronoun or a pronominal phrase that expresses mutual action or relationship between the individuals indicated in the plural subject. It forms a category of anaphors, along with reflexive pronouns like themselves, itself, himself, yourself, ourselves, etc.
The English language has just two words or rather word phrases that form reciprocal pronouns:

▣ Each other

▣ One another

"Each other" is used when there are two or more people involved in the mutual action, situation, or feeling, whereas "one another" is used for three or more people involved.
But these days, the usage can be interchanged because the phrase "one another" is almost becoming obsolete due to its formal-sounding nature. We'll show you examples of how both are used in the formation of sentences in the next section.


Before we move on to those examples, there are certain criteria we must follow while using this pronoun:

▣ The two words in each phrase, that is, "each other" and "one another", have to be used together and do not form a reciprocal pronoun unless it is done so. This means that you can't just use "each" or "another" separately as a reciprocal pronoun.
▣ There has to be more than one person because reciprocity can only occur if there is more than one person involved.

▣ The people have to be doing or feeling the same things in order for a reciprocal pronoun to be used.
▣ These pronouns can be used in their possessive forms; this requires the addition of the apostrophe "s" at the end of the pronoun; meaning "each other's" or "one another's".

Now that you know when to use these pronouns, we'll also show you how!


Examples for "each other" and "each other's"

▣ Dylan and Tyler loved to pull each other's legs.

▣ Ann and Ella always shared their secrets with each other.

▣ Dan and Ryan loved to be in the company of each other.
▣ "You have to respect each other's privacy", the teacher said to Mary and Rose.

▣ When they looked at each other, you could see the rage in their eyes.

▣ Both the teams fought hard against each other.
▣ When Hannah and Spencer looked at each other with that glint in their eyes, the others expected some sort of mischief.

▣ They had the habit of giving each other surprise gifts.

▣ Tina and Roy looked at each other's clothes, and the gap in their social status became apparent.

▣ "Have you looked at each other's results?", their Chemistry professor asked.

Examples for "one another" and "one another's"

▣ The students looked at one another with blank expressions on their faces.

▣ The family members always argued with one another.

▣ "If you all learned to look at one another's differences, you will realize that on some level, you are all the same."
▣ The teammates gave one another a pat on the back after a smashing victory.

▣ The classmates exchanged notes with one another frantically before their exams.

▣ The prisoners always sneered at one another when they passed in the hallways.
▣ "Pointing fingers at one another won't solve the conflict, you'll have to find a middle ground."

▣ The doctors relied on one another in times of crisis.
▣ "What you all share with one another is an inexplicable bond."

▣ All the girls looked at one another's Halloween costumes and burst into synchronous laughter.

While we were at it, we figured we'd give you an easy guide through their Spanish counterparts as well!


The Spanish reciprocal pronouns are the same as the reflexive pronouns of the language. These are:

▣ Se

▣ Os

▣ Nos

The phrase "el uno al otro" is the equivalent of "each other". Example, "Se golpean el uno al otro" means "They are hitting each other."
It can also take both feminine and plural forms. Example:

▣ Pablo y Molly se aman el uno a la otra.
Translation: Pablo and Molly love each other.

▣ Se abrazaban la una a la otra.
Translation: The two females hugged each other.

▣ No se cuidan los unos a los otros.
Translation: They don't take care of each other.
This is one grammar lesson that is easy to recall, as there are only two kinds of such pronouns in the English language. So now that you know the "when" and the "how", you're on your way to become a master linguist!