Should I Use “Each Other” or “One Another?”
While determining whether to use the phrase each other or one another is straightforward, some people have a tendency to misuse these terms.
The rule is simple for deciding which of these terms should be used in any given sentence: When discussing only two entities, one another should be used, as in the example, “How well do you two know one another?” While many people would not think anything of it if somebody asked, “How well do you two know each other?” this form of the question is not correct.
When discussing more than two entities, the term each other should be used, as in “All the children played nicely with each other.” Again, many would not notice the mistake if someone said, “All the children played nicely with one another,” but this is indeed an error.
Similarly, if you read a sentence that does not implicitly state the number of entities being discussed, you can assume only two are being discussed if the term one another is used. If you read, “The teams traded players with one another,” you should assume that only two teams were involved in the trade even though this is not stated. If you read, “The teams traded players with each other,” you should assume that trades were made among three or more teams.
Jake Magnum, author of the Magnum Proofreading Blog, is dedicated to helping writers perfect their work. In addition to giving free advice on his blog, Jake helps writers by offering very affordable proofreading services at magnumproofreading.com.