HOW TO DISTINGUISH OTHER/ANOTHER/THE OTHER/THE OTHERS
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)
Table of contents
- I. ANOTHER/OTHER
- II. OTHERS/THE OTHERS/THE OTHER
- III. OTHER, OTHERS, THE OTHER OR ANOTHER: TYPICAL ERRORS
- 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 of, a 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 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.
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
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)
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?
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 …
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