Thursday, March 3, 2011

Other, others and another

A typical mistake my students make:
* I like learning English but I don't like learning others languages.
Others is not the plural form of other. Other can be an adjective or a pronoun, while others is always a pronoun. Have a look at these examples:
Susan was at the meeting with three other teachers. (adjective)
Have you got any other questions? (adjective)
I prefer this car to any other. (pronoun)
Some students are better than others. (pronoun)
In the first two sentences, other is an adjective followed by nouns, but in the last two examples, other and others are pronouns: They are used instead of the nouns car and students, respectively.
Image: 'Pints

Another means “an additional”, “an extra”. It's used with singular nouns:
I need another beer. I'm really thirsty.
But it can also be used with numbers or the expression few:
I'll be in London for another two weeks.
You'll hear from me in another few days.

In these cases, you can use more instead of another, but other cannot be used. Notice the word order:
I'll be in London for two more weeks. But not: *two other weeks.
You'll hear from me in a few more weeks. But not: *other few weeks.

Other expressions using these words:
Each other: reciprocal relationship between two people. They love each other.
One another: The same as each other but involving more than two people. The students help one another.
(Today, most people use each other and one another as synonyms, regardless of how many people are involved)
Other than: except. I have never grown any flowers other than daisies.


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