Lately, we have received so many questions about how to differentiate between other and another. If you are one of those who feel confusing while dealing with these two words, you are lucky. This post is definitely what you are looking for. Today we will explain the differences and how to use ‘other’ and ‘another’ correctly.
First of all, take a look at these examples.
- He lives on the other side.
- He lives on another side.
Are they really that different? They are similar and that is what’s tricky about them, but they are not the same. Let’s talk about the meaning of these two words first. ‘Other’ can mean additional or extra.
- The apple is too small compared to what I want. Are there any other fruits in your store?
This sentence means that the speaker wants to find more fruits other than or apart from apple. To put it more simply, he or she prefers trying more kinds of fruits, which are not apple.
Meanwhile, we use ‘another’ to say one more.
- There is another loaf of bread in the fridge, take it if you are hungry.
So that means you have already had a loaf of bread, but in the case you are hungry, there is one more in the fridge and you can take it. So both ‘other’ and ‘another’ can mean additional or extra, but they can also both mean different or alternative.
When you are looking for a watch for your mother’s birthday, then the sales assistant recommends a gorgeous watch but you still want to see alternative models, you can say:
- Do you have any other watches?
Now ‘another’ is similar to ‘other,’ but it’s not exactly the same.
- This blazer looks good on you, but the color is too bright for the meeting. Is there another blazer in your closet?
The speaker wants to know if you have a different blazer whose color is darker than the one you are wearing.
Some of you may think that the only dissimilarity between them is that ‘another’ means one more but it’s not true. If you notice, you will realize that the way they are used, the structure of a sentence can be a little different for each word. You can’t just randomly swap places with each other. It will change the meaning that the sentence is directed to. To better understand this section, let move on to the next part.
Both ‘other’ and ‘another’ can be used as determinants. Determiners are words placed before nouns to show which person or thing is being referred to. For instance, a, an, the, our, your, both and any are determinants. ‘Other’ and ‘Another’ are also among them.
1.Used with uncountable nouns and plural countable nouns.
Most of the time, ‘other’ is used with uncountable nouns and plural countable nouns. Here are some examples as to the usage of ‘other’.
- Do you have any other luggage to check?
‘Other’ is a determiner for luggage. ‘Luggage’ is an uncountable noun.
- Why do you have to do other research when the last one has been so excellent?
‘Other’ is a determiner for research. ‘Research’ is an uncountable noun.
- Do you know any other good books by this author?
‘Other’ is determining ‘books’, a plural countable noun.
- I love this coffee, do you have any other packs?
‘Other’ is a determiner for packs. ‘Packs’ is a countable noun.
- I want to see other cars. I think I should consider carefully before buying.
‘Other’ is determining ‘cars’, a plural countable noun.
2. Used with singular countable nouns
But what about if the noun was singular like his other job? So ‘other’ can be used with singular countable nouns that it needs another determiner, usually an article or a pronoun.
So you can’t say “I don’t like other dog.” You need to say: “I don’t like her other dog” or “the other dog.” Notice the article ‘the’ here, before ‘other’. It is possible to use ‘other’ with singular countable nouns, and this happens in particular situations.
3. The other
You can use ‘the other’ when you are talking about two things or people, and you want to talk about the second thing or person.
- That green is a little drab. I like the other color better.
You are showing me two different colors, I would like to choose the second one, which is not that grab green.
- She has a bracelet on one wrist, and on the other she wears a watch.
So she has two wrists, the first has a bracelet and the second has a watch.
It can also mean the opposite direction or side, as in this:
- My apartment is on the other side of D.C.
1.Used with singular countable nouns
‘Another’ is also used as a determiner so it can be used with singular countable nouns.
- Do you want to buy another dress, your old one was torn?
Here ‘another’ is the determiner to the singular countable noun, ‘dress’. We can not use ‘another’ with the plural form. ‘Another’ can not go with ‘dresses’.
If you want to ask about buying new dresses, more than one dress, you should use ‘other’.
- Do you want to buy other dresses, your old one is torn?
2. Used with a determiner with plural nouns
There is an exception to the above rule, though. ‘Another’ can be used with a determiner with plural nouns when a plural noun has a number or a number phrase in front of it like ‘a few’ or ‘a couple’.
No one says: “I want another books.” but “I want another two books.” is acceptable.
Now is how to use these words as pronouns. Pronouns are words that are used instead of nouns or noun phrases. If you don’t remember what pronouns are, we have an example for you.
- Kate has always loved climbing. She announced that she wants to go to Everest and conquer the highest mountain in the world.
‘She’ is used as a pronoun.
When we use another as a pronoun, remember that it can only be used with singular countable nouns.
- The applications are examined by one committee, then passed on to another.
In this sentence, ‘another’ is replacing the noun ‘committee’. We can only use ‘another’ here because we are talking about a singular committee, not multiple committees. There are no exceptions here. ‘Another’ is just used as a singular pronoun.
So how about ‘other’? You can use ‘other’ to talk about two things, and the first thing has already been mentioned.
- She has two dogs, one is black, and the other is all white.
‘Other’ is acting as a noun here. It is a pronoun replacing ‘dog’. We can use ‘the other’ here because we have already mentioned the first dog, who is back. So when we use ‘the other’, we are obviously referring to the second dog.
But there is something that you need to keep in mind. As a pronoun, ‘other’ can be singular or plural. Therefore, if you see ‘other’ appears in plural form, it is used as a pronoun. Here are some examples:
- Some scientists think we should reduce the number of flights to prevent global warming; others disagree.
- I will attach two photos to this email, and I will send others tomorrow.
Do you feel more confident while using ‘other’ and ‘another’? If you have any uncertainty after reading this post, leave a comment below, we will clear it up for you. One advice for using these two words is that try to put them in your daily English conversation or your writing. They will not only improve your speaking and writing skills but also make them look more professional. That is the end of our lesson today. We hope that you can soon be fluent in managing these two words. Good luck!