I think that "each other" refers to two and "one another" to more than two but they are often interchangeable.
Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary
What is or was the difference beween one another and each other? I say was since both phrases are now used interchangably.
For me one another (and and another) is for two people while each other is for more.
I arrive at this conclusion an the analogy with both - for two people and only two people.
Last edited by soutter; 25-Aug-2011 at 09:30.
I take it for granted that one another and each other are interchangeable but I take one another for two people and each other for three or more. I am awfully sorry, but the question is what the reasoning behind one's argument for one or the other was, not what some dictionary says.
I don't understand your formula. But what I am decrying is the interchangability of the two phrases: I accept it but I don't like it. You have read my reasoning. I am asking people to disprove what I have said - not post some formula! What was or still is the reason for a distinction between the two phrases that is now ignored?
You take it for granted that two terms are interchangeable; and you also take it that they mean different things. It seemed like a logically unsound thing to write. But I think I now understand your viewpoint.
I do not know the original derivation of these phrases, nor by what mechanism the usage has changed.
If you do not know the original derivation of these phrases, or (your nor should be or, Senior Member Mayott) by what mechanism the usage was derived, why didn't you say so in the first place?
I am saying:
one another (one plus another person making two) is for two people (like between);
each other is for three or more people (like among/amongst).
This is the difference between the two taught me at school by my very capable (rare these days) English teacher!
Interchangeable, yes bit I don't like it! ATTACK!!!!
Your 'very capable' teacher taught you the reverse of what was traditionally taught. Quirk et al (1985.364) note :
"There is no difference in the use of the two pronouns each other and one another. Although in prescriptive tradition each other is sometimes preferred for reference to two and one another for more than two, this distinction seems to have little foundation in usage."
I am afraid that if your teacher taught you that, then she was mistaken about the traditional view of the distinction, as seen in the quotation above from Quirk et al, which is as standard a work as you'll find. You say it is up to us to disprove, but given that you are going against the traditional view then it is your task to disprove the traditional view.
I haven't seen any analysis from you, let alone a rigorous one- saying that you derive a position by analogy with both, without actually explaining the analogy is an empty argument. You also restate your position by comparison to between/among, again without explanation. I have never found much merit in the distinction, but do know that it is not the one you stated, but if you feel happier using them that way, then do it. The vast majority make no distinction and those that do use the opposite formula.
At least no harm will be done because no one will notice as so few make any distinction nowadays, and those that do will simply assume that you are using them interchangeably.
I am going to close this thread as it's going nowhere. Also, writing things in big letters doesn't make them more correct, just harder to read.
Last edited by Tdol; 03-Oct-2011 at 07:48. Reason: Italics