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Other vs. Another

Hi Everyone!

"Other" vs. "another" is so hard! Countable singular nouns vs uncountable vs. plural....specific vs. nonspecific....etc etc. 

Does anyone have a great resource and / or ideas for activities for this English evilness? 

Thank you in advance!

Evonne, Central Carolina Community College (NC)


Nerva Ramos's picture

For this particular facet of English, I have had good success using OPD's Food section as a base to show the difference and how to use them. 

Nicole Moore's picture

I also use food to show the count/non count.  I wasn't focusing on other vs. another....for my group it was how much vs. how many.  I showed a couple of pictures of the beach...sand/water...talked about how it doesn't make sense to put a number on it.  (1,2,3,...waters or sand?)  But as soon as you put it into a container...(now showing  bottles of water and buckets of sand) then it does make sense to put a number on it.  And for things you put a number use many and for those you don't you use much and it will change if you're talking about the specific containers.  I used some handouts from Woodward English to go through common non count nouns...then demonstrated with foods from my kitchen..sugar, coffee creamer, cinnamon, rice, bread, cheese, ham, coffee, milk, water, a head of cabbage, apples, bananas  Finished with a play money bet on how much or how many using a powerpoint someone posted on ISL collective (called Mr. How Much/How Many)...plan to pick up where we left off tomorrow with some conversation questions using the how much/how many structures tomorrow.

Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Thanks for this good question, Evonne, and thanks to those who have chimed in with good suggestions on how to teach how to use other and another.  Here's an activity that I created for teaching this distinction. It doesn't address all the nuances, but it might be useful. Please feel free to adapt this for your own students.

More ideas are welcome!

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP

Another means ONE more of something and a DIFFERENT thing. Use another with a singular noun.

Example 1: She wears this ring every day. She has another ring at home. (one more and different)

Example 2: He speaks English. His wife speaks another language. (a different language, not English)


Other means MORE than one of something and DIFFERENT things. Use other with a plural noun.

Example 1: She wears this ring every day. She has other rings at home. (more and different)

Example 2: He speaks English. His wife speaks other languages. (different languages – not English)


Read the conversations and write other or another to fill the blank.

1A: Do you have an extra pen?

1B: Yes, I have ___________________  pen in my bag.


2A: Did you have a good vacation?

2B: Oh, yes! I plan to take   __________________________    vacation in December.


3A: These shirts are too small.

3B: Yes, but these   __________________________ shirts are the right size.


4A: This key is not working.

4B: We need   ________________________     key.


5A: Would you like _________________________   cup of coffee?

5B: Yes, thank you, and I liked the chocolate cookies, but may I try one of the _______________  cookies?                               


6A: This machine is working today.

6B: Yes, but the   __________________________   machines are not working.


7A: We only have five people in class today.

7B: Where are the   _________________________   students?


8A: We have four temp workers today.

8B: We are so busy. Can we get  _________________________    temp worker? 

johnslat's picture

Dear Colleagues, Here's a handout I created on the topic. However, it's intended for high-level ESL students:

Another;  other;  the other;  others;  the others;  every other

1st: " Another " is usually singular; you can use it as a pronoun:

Example. There are lots of apples on that tree. He ate an apple ( one ) and now he wants another ( object of the verb ).

or you can use it as an adjective:

Example: There are lots of apples on that tree. He ate an apple ( one ) and now he wants another one ( telling about the pronoun " one " )

But it can sometimes be used as an adjective with a plural noun.

Example: In another five minutes, the class will end.

2nd:  " other " is always plural and you can use it only as an adjective.

Example: Some people like tea but other people like coffee, and other people like Pepsi.

3rd: , " the other "  is both singular and plural; you can use it as a pronoun only as a singular:

Example ( Singular ): I have two brothers. One is Jose. The other is Juan.
( and " the other " always talks about only two:  two people, places or things - or two groups )

or you can use it as an adjective, with both singular and plural:

Example ( singular ): This pen is Jose's. The other pen belongs to Juan.

Example ( plural ): Some students in this class like grammar, but the other students don't like it.

4th: - " others "
" Others " is only a pronoun and is always plural:

Example: Some people like coffee. Others like tea. And others like Pepsi.

5th: - " the others "
" The others " is only a pronoun and is always plural:

Example: Half of the students in this class like grammar, but the others don't like it.

6th – “every other”
“Every other is used only as an adjective. It is always used with a singular noun, but it has two meanings. 1. It can mean “all the rest”.

Example: Only Jose is absent. Every other student is present today.

Or it can mean to skip over, every second one

Example: I water the lawn every other day, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Finally, " the other " and " the others " are used only when you have two of something - two people, two places, two things or two groups.

Examples: I have two pens. One is red and the other ( one ) is blue. Many students passed the quiz, but the other students failed it.
There are four seasons. One is summer; the others are winter, spring and fall.

But when you use " another ", " other " or " others ", there are MORE than two ( you can keep going on ).

Examples: There's a students and there's another and there's another and there's another one, etc.

Some Hispanics live in Mexico. Other Hispanics live in Guatemala. Other Hispanics live in El Salvador, etc.

Some Hispanics live in Mexico. Others live in Guatemala. Others live in El Salvador, etc.   

Another, The Other, The Others, Others: Directions: Circle the correct answer

1. There's no ___ way to do it.

other           the other             another

2. Some people like to rest in their free time. ___ like to travel.

Other           The others              Others

3. This cake is delicious! Can I have ___ slice, please?

other                    another              others

4. Where are ___ boys?

the other               the others          others

5. The supermarket is on ___ side of the street.

other              another              the other

6. There were three books on my table. One is here. Where are ___ ?

others              the others            the other

7. Some students went straight to the  room. ___  students are still in the cafeteria.

The other             The others          Another

8. This is not the only answer to the question. There are ___ .

the others              others             another

9.I’m so sorry.  Please give me ___ chance.

other             the other           another

10. He was a great teacher. Everyone agreed it would be hard to find ___ like him.

another           other              the other

B. Choose the right answer from the six choices

1. I invited five people to my party. Out of those five people, only Maria and Jose can come. ___________________ people can't come.

Every other        Another      Others     The others    The other    Other

2. There are many means of transportation. The airplane is one means of transportation. The car is _______________.

every other       the others       another     the other      others           other

3. I’d like some more books on this subject. Do you have any ____________ books that you could lend me?

every other      the others      the other     other        another       others

4. I ‘d like to go with you, but I've already made ______________ plans.

others      another       the other      every other         other    the others

5. In just ______________ three weeks, she will be married.

other        the other     others    every other        the others       another

6. He has two big problems. One is he’s poor, and ________________ is he’s sick.

another    every other      the other         other     the others         others

7. Look at your hands. One is your right hand. _____________ is your left hand.

The other    The others      Other     Another     Others    Every other

8. If you begin with the first and then answer only ________________ question on the exam, then half of the questions have no answers.

others     the others           other     the other        every other        another

9. Four states border New Mexico. One is Utah; ___________ is Colorado.

others         other    every other      the other       the others         another

10. She’s going to graduate in _______________ two years.

the other    the others    other       every other        others     another

11. Maria only reads the New Mexican. She doesn't read any __________ newspapers.

the others    others          every other    the other    another    other

12. Most of the guests are already here, and _____________ should be here soon.

others         the others    other         the other        another       every other

13. Two of the ten students finished the exam early. _________________ stayed until the time was over.

Every other      Another    Other      Others       The other       The others

Finally. the pronouns each other and one another are synonyms used when there are two people, animals or things.
Example: They looked at each other/one another in surprise. The houses are next to one another/each other.