Other’s or Others’? Clear Examples– Possessive Form

A common question people have about grammar is whether to use other’s, others or others’. So, which one is correct?

The answer depends on the context.

You would use other’s when referring to something that belongs to someone else, such as “We are wearing each other’s clothes.”

You would use others’ when referring to something that belongs to a group of people, such as “The others’ cars are parked over there.”

You would use others when referring to a group of people or things, such as “The others are waiting for you outside.”

Other’s VS Others’

Other’s and others’ are the possessive forms of other.

We use other’s for singular possessive form (singular meaning one).

For example:

  • We couldn’t stop staring into each other’s eyes.
  • We borrowed each other’s outfits.
  • The students corrected each other’s homework.
  • We use others’ for plural possessive form (multiple; more than one).

For example:

  • The others’ cars are parked over there.
  • The voluntary organisation has a big impact on others’ lives.
  • Don’t be bothered by others’ opinions.

Native English speakers tend to say other peoples’ instead of others,’ for example, “Don’t be bothered by other peoples’ opinions.”

Other vs Others

We would use other when referring to a person or thing.

Others is the plural of other, so it can be used to refer to more than one thing or person.

For example:

  • I have a few ideas, but I’m not sure if they’re any good. Let me ask the others what they think.
  • We looked at each other, but nobody said anything.
  • There are too many things to do and not enough time. I’m sure others feel the same way.
  • Are there any other questions?

Each Other’s or Each Others’

Each other is a pronoun that may be used in place of a person’s name.

Because there is more than one person involved, people often mistakenly treat it as a plural pronoun, like they. They put an apostrophe after the s, like each others’.

However, each other is actually a singular pronoun, so it behaves the same way as most singular nouns in the possessive form, with ‘s.

When you see the word “each” the word that follows needs to be singular. Therefore, you can’t ever write each others.’

For example:

  • The monkeys scratched each other’s backs.
  • We met each other’s parents.
  • The students wrote in each other’s journals.

The Noun Following Each Other’s

The nouns that follow each other are usually made plural (if it’s countable). From these sentences, we can see that “backs,” “parents” and “journals” are pluralised.

However, not all style guides agree on this. The plural noun is much more common, but some style guides might instead require you to write the noun in the singular form.

For example, instead of:

  • The monkeys scratched each other’s backs (correct- it’s referring to more than one back)

We could say:

  • The monkeys scratched each other’s back (correct- they each have one back)

Alternative to “Each Other”: One Another

Is there an alternative word to “each other?”

Instead of saying “each other,” as in:

  • They support each other’s opinions.

We could say:

  • They support one another’s opinions (sounds more formal than ‘each other’)

It is generally accepted to use “one another” in place of “each other.”

However, some linguists or traditional grammarians actually like to use “each other” when there are just two people involved and “one another” when more than two people are involved.

The average native speaker won’t notice the difference as “one another” is broadly accepted instead of “each other.” You may wish to use it in your speaking or writing.

Other Example Sentences with “One Another” and “Each Other”

  • They helped one another up/ They helped each other up.
  • The couple enjoyed each other’s company / The couple enjoyed one another’s company.
  • The students encouraged one another to keep going/ The students encouraged each other to keep going.
  • The players traded shirts with one another/ The players traded shirts with each other.
  • After the performance, the band members congratulated one another / After the performance, the band members congratulated each other.

You may also be interested in: 15 Best Online English Courses Free & Paid (2022)

In Conclusion

Other’s and others’ are both correct forms of the word other.

You would use others when referring to a group of people or things, such as “The others are waiting for you outside.”

You would use others’ for plural possessive form, such as “The others’ opinions are very important to me.” Other’s acts as the singular possessive form.

Each other’s is the correct possessive form of the word each other.

One another is an acceptable alternative to each other. It simply means that everyone is involved.

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I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain and online. I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others! I enjoy traveling, nature walks, and soaking up a new culture. I also like a good Guinness! Please share this post if you find it helpful; I really appreciate it. Thank you!

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