HOW TO DISTINGUISH OTHER/ANOTHER/THE OTHER/THE OTHERS

15-Jul-2019
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A simple rule to help you remember the difference between another and other is

another + singular noun
other + plural noun 
others (a pronoun to replace other + plural noun)

  • I need another cup. (cup is singular so we use another)
  • I need other cups. (cup is plural so we use other)
  • I need others. (refers to other cups)

I. ANOTHER/OTHER

1. ANOTHER

Another means:

  • one more, an additional, an extra
  • a different one; an alternative one

Another is a determiner (and a qualifier) that goes before a singular countable noun or a pronoun.

a) Another as a determiner

Another + Singular Countable noun

Another can be followed by a singular countable noun.

  • He has bought another motorbike.
  • Would you like another cup of coffee?
  • Don’t worry about the rain. We can go another day.
  • I think you should paint it another color.
  • We are having another baby.

Another + One

Another can be placed before “one” when the meaning is clear from the text before it.

  • I have already eaten two sandwiches though now I want another one. (= an additional sandwich)
  • A: You can borrow more of these books if you like. B: Ok, I’ll take another one. (= another book, one more book)

b) Another as a pronoun

Sometimes another is used as a pronoun.

  • That piece of cake was tasty. I think I’ll have another. (another = one more piece of cake)
  • I don’t like this room. Let’s ask for another. (another = another room)

Note: you can also say: “I think I’ll have another one.” and “Let’s ask for another one.”

Another + number + plural noun

Another can be used before a plural noun when there is a number before that noun or before phrases such as a couple ofa few etc.

  • In another 20 years my laptop is going to be obsolete.
  • I like this city so much that I’m going to spend another three days here.
  • We need another three teachers before classes begin.
  • He was given another couple of months to finish the sculpture.

Remember another is ONE word not two words (an other is incorrect)

other or another?
other or another?

2OTHER

Other is a determiner that goes before plural countable nouns, uncountable nouns or a pronoun.

Othermeans ‘additional or extra’, or ‘alternative’, or ‘different types of’.

a) Other as a determiner

Other + Plural Countable Noun

Other can be followed by a plural countable noun.

  • We have other styles if you are interested.
  • Have you got any other dresses, or are these the only ones?
  • Some days are sunny though other days can be very rainy.
  • I have invited some other people.
  • I can’t help you because I’m busy with other things.

Other + singular countable noun

we must use another determiner before it:

  • I don’t like the red one. I prefer the other colour.
  • Not: I prefer other colour.
  • Jeremy is at university; our other son is still at school.
  • He got 100% in the final examination. No other student has ever achieved that.
  • There’s one other thing we need to discuss before we finish.

b) Other as a pronoun

Other + Ones

Other can be placed before the pronoun “ones” when the meaning is clear from the text before it.

  • We don’t need those books, we need other ones. (= different books)
  • A: You can borrow my books if you like. B: Thanks, but I need other ones. (= other books)

Note: you can say other one when it refers to wanting the alternative.

  • I don't want this one, I want the other one.

Warning:

Other as a determiner does not have a plural form

  • Mandy and Charlotte stayed behind. The other girls went home.
  • Not: The others girls …

II. OTHERS/THE OTHERS/THE OTHER

1. OTHERS

Others as a pronoun

Others replaces “other ones” or "other + plural noun".
Only others can be used as a pronoun and not other.

  • I don’t like these postcards. Let’s ask for others. (others = other postcards)
  • Some of the presidents arrived on Monday. Others arrived the following day.

2. THE OTHERS

Others - the others

Often “(the) others” refers to “(the) other people”.

  • He has no interest in helping others. (= in helping other people)
  • What are the others doing tonight?

What is the difference between other and others?

Other is followed by a noun or a pronoun 
Others is a pronoun and is NOT followed by a noun.

  • These shoes are too small. Do you have any other shoes?
  • These shoes are too small. Do you have any others? (no noun after others)
other? others? the other?
other? others? the other?

3. THE OTHER

a) The other as a determiner

The other with a singular noun means the second of two things or people, or the opposite of a set of two.

  • This computer here is new. The other computer is about five years old.
  • A: Do you know the Indian restaurant in Palmer Street?

B: Yes.

A: Well, the gift shop is on the other side of the street, directly opposite. (the opposite side)

The other with a plural noun means the remaining people or things in a group or set

  • Joel and Karen are here, but where are the other kids? (the remaining people in a group)
  • Where are the other two dinner plates? I can only find four. (the remaining things in a set – here six plates)

b) The other as a pronoun

We can use the other as a pronoun, especially to refer back to something which has been mentioned already in the sentence:

  • He had his hat in one hand and a bunch of flowers in the other.
  • She has two kittens, one is black and the other is all white.

III. OTHER, OTHERS, THE OTHER OR ANOTHER: TYPICAL ERRORS

When other is a determiner, it does not have a plural form:

  • These boxes are for books. The other boxes are for clothes.
  • Not: The others boxes …

When other as a pronoun refers to more than one person or thing, it takes the plural form, others:

  • Some scientists think we should reduce the number of flights to prevent global warming; othersdisagree.
  • Not: … other disagree.

Othermust have a determiner before it when it comes in front of a singular countable noun. If the noun is indefinite (e.g. a book, a woman, an idea), we use another:

  • I’ve posted the first package. What shall I do with that other package?
  • Not: What shall I do with other package?
  • After a month in Bolivia, I was ready to move to another country.
  • Not: … to move to other country.

We write another as one word:

  • There is another car park a little further down the same street.
  • Not: There is an other car park …

Another is singular. We don’t use it with plural nouns:

  • Other interesting places to visit include the old harbour and the castle.
  • Not: Another interesting places to visit …
be careful with typical errors!
be careful with typical errors!

Cr: englishgrammartoday,woodward

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