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A common question people have is the possessive form of “other.” Should we use other’s, others or others’. Which one is correct?
The answer depends on the context.
You use other’s when referring to something that belongs to someone else, such as “We are wearing each other’s clothes.”
You use others’ when referring to something that belongs to a group of people, such as “The others’ cars are parked over there.”
You use others when referring to a group of people or things, such as “The others are waiting for you outside.”
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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).
- 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).
- The others’ cars are parked over there.
- The voluntary organization has a big impact on others’ lives.
- Don’t be bothered by others’ opinions.
Native English speakers tend to say other people instead of others,’ for example, “Don’t be bothered by other people’s 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.
- I have a few ideas, but I’m unsure if they’re any good. Let me ask the others what they think.
- What time are the others coming?
- 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.
- I will need to ask the others for their opinions.
- Are there any other questions?
- The others need help with the exercise.
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. They put an apostrophe after the s, so that it looks like this: each others’.
However, each other is 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.’
- 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 plural (if it’s countable). From these sentences, we can see that “backs,” “parents,” and “journals” are pluralized.
However, not all style guides agree on this. The plural noun is much more common, but some style guides may 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.
Other’s and others’ are both correct forms of the word “other.”
Use others when referring to a group of people or things, such as “The others are waiting for you outside.”
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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- Chris’s, Chris’ or Chrises?
- Is it Week’s, Weeks’, or Weeks?
- Canceling or Cancelling, Canceled or Cancelled?
- Todays or Today’s?
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