each othereach other
Usage Note: According to a traditional rule, each other denotes a reciprocal relation between two entities, and one another refers to more than two. This rule requires Dick and Maggie gave each other a knowing look and The members of the graduating class applauded one another. Most of the Usage Panel favors the rule. In our 2005 survey, 86 percent (up from 64 percent in 1987) reported limiting the reference of each other to two things in their own writing. In 2009, 84 percent accepted one another in the graduating class example above, but only 56 percent accepted each other. Still, the rule is often ignored without causing confusion and should be regarded more as a stylistic preference than a norm of Standard English. Many people maintain a further stylistic distinction between the two expressions by using one another when an ordered series of events or stages is involved, as in The waiters followed one another into the room. • The possessive forms of each other and one another are each other's and one another's: The boys wore each other's (not each others' ) coats. They had forgotten one another's (not one anothers' ) names.
- (reciprocal pronoun) To one another; one to the other; signifies that a verb applies to two or more entities both as subjects and as direct objects:
- Maria and Robert loved each other.
Some usage guides prescribe "each other" for two entities and "one another" for more than two; this distinction is not observed in practice. The Oxford English Dictionary describes the pronoun as referring to "˜two or more'; Fowler's suggests that the distinction "˜is neither of present utility nor based on historical usage'. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage notes that "˜A few commentators believe the rule to be followed in “formal discourse". This belief will not bear examination: Samuel Johnson's discourse is perhaps the most formal that exists in English literature, and he has been cited in violation of the rule.'