Reciprocal Pronouns – Definition, Examples, Rules, List

Pronouns have always played a vital role in the English language. Each of them has something special to offer, and by using them, you can add different flavors to your speech. One of the most interesting ones among them is definitely reciprocal pronoun.

But what are they, and what makes them so special?

This is exactly what we are going to look at in this post. Here, we will tell you all about the definition, rules, and examples of reciprocal pronouns. 

reciprocal pronouns definition examples rules list
Reciprocal pronouns definition examples rules list

So, if you always had doubts about this type of pronoun, then you have landed on the right page.

But first, let’s look at the definition of reciprocal pronouns.

What are Reciprocal Pronouns?

A pronoun can be called be a reciprocal pronoun if it indicates that two or more people are in the process of carrying out or have carried out an action of some type. Moreover, it may also indicate that both are receiving the benefits or consequences of that action simultaneously. So, whenever something is done or given in return, one can use reciprocal pronouns. It is also applicable any time mutual action is expressed.

In the English language, you can see two reciprocal pronouns, and both of them will help you make sentences simpler. You can use them every time you need to express a simple and general idea over and over again. The two pronouns are;

  • Each other
  • One another

The pronouns are fairly easy to use. You can apply them every time you wish to refer to two people, and you can use “each other.” But if you wish to refer to more than two people, like, the employees in an office, you can use “one another.” Now, let’s look at some examples of this pronoun.

Examples of Reciprocal Pronouns

One of the most significant benefits of this pronoun is that it can help prevent repetition within sentences. Here, in the following examples, you will see reciprocal pronouns being used in a different context.

  • John and Maria gave each other diamond rings on their wedding day.
  • Claire and Jack kissed each other while looking at the sunset on the beach.
  • Mark and Jack were fighting with each other in the hallway.
  • They give each other gifts during the holidays.
  • The employees congratulated one another after the success party of the project. 
  • The boys usually spent the afternoon playing football with one another.
  • The police officers started blaming one another for the mishap that happened in their department. 

Which Sentence Uses a Reciprocal Pronoun Correctly

Before you go ahead and start using them, you need to remember that one thing that separates them from any other pronoun. Unlike the regular pronouns, these pronouns may only make grammatical sense if they are used as objects. Therefore, you cannot use them as the subject of a sentence, clause, or phrase.

Let’s understand this concept with an example:

  • Correct: Jack and Leo are friends. They are talking to each other.
  • Incorrect: Jack and Leo are friends. Each other talked at them.

You also need to keep in mind that these pronouns have very different meanings compared to reflexive pronouns. Hence, you cannot use them interchangeably as the meaning of the sentence might get changed. For example:

  • Reciprocal pronoun: Mark and Claire kissed each other. (This sentence means Mark kissed Claire and Claire kissed Mark.)
  • Reflexive pronoun: Mark and Claire themselves. (This sentence means that Claire kissed herself and Mark kissed himself.)

It is possible to use “each other” and “one another” as possessive words. Some examples can be:

The employees looked over each other’s work.

The presidents of the countries agreed to respect one another’s borders and businesses.

Can You Use “Each other” and “One Another” Interchangeably?

The most common practice should be considering that each other can only be used to refer to two people/things, and on the other hand, you can use one another to refer to more than two people/things.

But not always, this rule is maintained. Because in everyday writing and speech, you can use each other to refer to more than two people/things, and also you can use one another to refer to two people/things:

  • Everyone in the office was suspicious of each other.
  • John and Jack flipped a coin to beat one another.

What’s the Difference between Each other and One Another?

Now, to put it simply, if you see two things, then use each other, and if there are more, then you can use one another.

My parrot and dog love each other. 

If the antecedent of a reciprocal pronoun refers to more than two things, you need to use one another.

My dog, parrot, and my cat love one another. 

Here, the antecedent is three things.

Frankly, this can be a grey area sometimes; it can be pretty complicated when depending on what the writer had in mind:

“Friends are kind to one another’s dreams.” (Philosopher Henry David Thoreau)

But you can also say

Friends are kind to each other’s dreams.

Some Examples of Reciprocal Pronouns

  • Mark and Marie love each other.
  • Jack and John hate each other.
  • The police officers were all shouting at one another.
  • Both the teams played lightly against each other.
  • They gave each other gifts.
  • They don’t you believe each other.
  • Can we meet each other?
  • The thieves were fighting one another.
  • The sea waves were crashing against each other in the storm.

Each other 

  • Romeo and Juliet love each other.
  • The players spoke to each other about the match strategy.
  • The monkeys shared food with each other.

One another

  • The players of the team congratulated one another on a successful match.
  • At the party, the attendees took turns making jokes about one another.
  • The animals stood close together in order to protect one another.


So there you have it, every information you need to know about reciprocal pronouns. Should you have any further doubts on reciprocal pronouns, feel free to mention them in the comments section, and we will answer them as soon as possible.

Refer to our few most interesting articles,

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