When should you use OTHER and ANOTHER? These English words are similar (but not the same!) In this lesson, I’ll show you how!
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What’s the difference between these two words? If you’re learning English, words like this might seem a little confusing or maybe even frustrating. I’m Emma from mmmEnglish and today I’m going to explain the difference between ‘other’ and ‘another’ and show you how to use each of those words correctly. Well I’m ready to get started, are you?
He lives on the other side.
He lives on another side.
Are they really that different? They’re definitely similar and that’s what’s tricky about them but they’re not the same. Let’s talk about the meaning of these two words first. ‘Other’ can mean additional or extra.
What other countries has he travelled to besides France?
So I know that he’s travelled to France but what additional countries has he travelled to other than France or apart from France? But it’s not exactly the same.
We use ‘another’ to say one more.
There’s another sandwich if you’re hungry.
So that means, well you’ve already had a sandwich but now I’m offering you more.
So both ‘other’ and ‘another’ can mean additional or extra but they can also both mean different or alternative. I can ask: Do you have any other types of juice?
So I don’t want that type of juice, I want to know if there are alternatives, other types of juice, different ones from the juice that I’ve been offered.
Now ‘another’ is similar to ‘other’ but it’s not exactly the same.
There’s so much traffic. Is there another way to go?
So I want to know is there an alternative way to get to my destination? Is there a different route that I can take?
So again, using ‘another’ means one more but did you notice that the way they’re used, the structure of the sentences can be a little different for each word. It’s not always possible to simply swap one for the other, you know. You can’t just switch them. So in a moment, we’re going to take a closer look at why that is.
Both ‘other’ and ‘another’ can be used as determinants. Now if you can’t remember exactly what a determiner is, well that’s okay. It’s a type of word that introduces a noun and it makes it clear what we’re talking about.
- all of us
- the cookie
- each person
- the other job
- another friend
Now notice how ‘other’ is used here. We use it after ‘the’ or a possessive word like ‘his other job’ then followed by a singular or plural noun. So can you think of some of your own examples like this? Add them to the comments if you can.
- Her other house
- The other lesson
Most of the time ‘other’ is used with uncountable nouns and plural countable nouns. Do you have any other information for me? So here ‘other’ is a determiner for information. ‘Information’ is an uncountable noun.
Do you know any other good books by this author?
So ‘other’ is determining ‘books’, a plural countable noun. Got it so far?
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”
We can use the single article ‘an’ as well. Another, another dog. So when the noun is singular and countable, you can use ‘another’ as the determiner.
One of the sandwiches has cheese, the other sandwich doesn’t.
Notice the article ‘the’ here, before ‘other’. This makes it possible to use ‘other’ with singular countable nouns and this happens in really specific situations. You can use ‘the other’ when you’re talking about two things or people and you want to talk about two things or people and you want to talk about the second thing or person.
The first sandwich has cheese, the second or the other doesn’t.
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. I can’t just say: “On the other wrist she wears a watch”, right? Because the idea is incomplete, I would really leave the listener asking a question like: what was on the first wrist then?
‘Another’ is also used as a determiner so it can be used with singular countable nouns. Do you have another room available? So here ‘another’ is the determiner to the singular countable noun, ‘room’. I can’t use ‘another’ with the plural form, I can’t use ‘another’ with ‘rooms’.
If I want to ask if there are extra rooms available, more than one room, I need to use ‘other’ instead, okay?
Do you have other rooms available? Or do you have another room available?
There is one exception to this 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’.
I can’t say “I need another weeks to finish the report” because ‘weeks’ is plural and it’s countable. But I can say “I need another two weeks to finish the report” or “I need another couple of weeks to finish the report” Got it?
Now the other way to use these words is to use them as pronouns. So again, ‘another’ can only be used with singular countable nouns.
I’m going to order a drink. Would you like another?
So in this sentence ‘another’ is replacing the noun ‘drink’ but remember, I can only use ‘another’ here because we’re talking about a singular drink not multiple drinks. And guess what? There aren’t any exceptions here. ‘Another’ is just used as a singular pronoun.
Now you’ll see ‘other’ used as a pronoun too. You can use it when you’re talking about two things and the first thing has already been mentioned.
So for example. My first wish is to go to Alaska. The other is to see the Northern Lights.
So ‘other’ is acting as a noun here, it’s a pronoun replacing ‘wish’. And it’s okay to do this because it’s clear what we’re talking about, we already mentioned that the first wish was I want to go to Alaska so when we use the ‘other’, we’re obviously referring to ‘wish’ but there is something that you need to keep in mind. As a pronoun, ‘other’ can be singular or plural. Now remember when I was talking about ‘other’ as a determiner, I said it can’t be plural. But you will see a plural form and that’s when it’s used as a pronoun.
So let’s look at a couple of examples.
Part of the group has already arrived. The others will be here very soon.
Today we tried three traditional foods. Tomorrow we’ll try three others.
So are you feeling a little more confident about these two words now? Now is your chance to test yourself and to practise what you’ve just learned so get ready after this super short break, I’ve got a mini quiz for you. Okay let’s practise, see if you can choose the correct word to complete each sentence, okay? Choose ‘other’ or ‘another’.
1. I don’t like that movie. Is there ________ one that we can watch?
So we know that the word has to replace the noun ‘movie’, right? Meaning an additional or a different movie. So we need to choose a pronoun for a singular countable noun, it must be ‘another’.
2. Are there any dishes ___________ without meat?
So check out the noun here, it’s plural, ‘dishes’. And we can’t say ‘any’ with ‘another’ right? So ‘other’ is the correct answer.
3. Do you accept __________ types of payment besides cash?
‘Another’ is right but what if it was ‘types’ – plural? Then it would be ‘other’.
4. I need to buy _________ phone charger, I lost mine!
So it’s a singular countable noun. So it must be ‘another’.
5. I don’t like oysters, but I love ____________ kinds of seafood.
We have a plural countable noun here so we need to use ‘other’.
Awesome! How did you go? Remember that your decision to use ‘other’ or ‘another’ really depends on the noun that you’re using, whether it’s singular, plural or uncountable. Now for the ultimate challenge, can you write a sentence into the comments below this video that uses both words? That would be awesome! I’m going to come down and check out your sentences very soon and if you’ve got any questions about this lesson at all then please add them to the comments below.
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