Another – Other – Others

What is the difference between another, other and others?

Another vs. Other vs. Others
What is the difference between these words?
Let’s start with the word ANOTHER… 

What does ANOTHER mean?

Another is an adjective (or determiner) or a pronoun

ANOTHER generally means: one more; an extra; an additional
ANOTHER can also mean: an alternative or a different.

For example:

  • She wants another cup of tea.

This is the same as saying:

  • She wants one more cup of tea. …. OR ….
  • She wants an additional cup of tea.

Perhaps she liked it or she is very thirsty so she wants another cup of tea.
Another example: (which means an extra example or one more example)

  • You can stay another day.

This can mean:

  • You can stay one more day. OR
  • You can stay an additional day.

But ANOTHER can also mean: an alternative; a different. For example:

  • We have to go another day.

This can mean:

  • We have to go on an alternative day.

Maybe because the day we planned is not available.

  • We have to go a different day.

Look at this example:

  • I need another pen.

This can mean: I need an alternative pen …or…. I need a different pen, maybe because my pen isn’t working right now. Or maybe I need another pen or an alternative pen because I want to change the colour of my writing.

Another + Singular countable noun

In general ANOTHER is followed by a singular countable noun.
As you can see in our previous examples:

  • I need another pen
  • We have to go another day.
  • She wants another cup of tea.

Pen, day, and cup are singular countable nouns.

Another as a pronoun

Another can also be use as a pronoun.

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

Note: you can also add ONE after ANOTHER: “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 “number words” such as couple of and few etc.
The word order is another + number + plural noun

  • I think I’m going to spend another three days in this city.

(Here we are saying an additional three days)

  • She was given another couple of weeks to finish the project.

(It doesn’t need to be a specific number a certain words referring to numbers. A couple means two.)

What does OTHER mean?

OTHER is an adjective (or determiner) or a pronoun.
OTHER generally means: more in addition to the one (or ones) already mentioned;
It can also mean alternative or different.
In this case, OTHER is the plural form of ANOTHER

  • We have another book for you.

Another refers to one additional book for you or an alternative book for you.
We used another because book is singular.
We use: Another + singular noun

  • We have other books for you.

Other refers to additional books apart from the one you already have.
We used other because there is more than one book.
We use: Other + plural noun.

OTHER can also mean: alternative; different from what was mentioned.

  • We have other styles if you are interested.

(other styles means alternative styles, different from the styles you have already seen)

  • Have you got any other dresses, or are these the only ones?

(The person would like to see different or alternative dresses)
As you can see, the order is generally OTHER + plural countable noun

Others is a pronoun or a noun

Others replaces “other + plural noun”

Others is not followed by a noun.
others = other people. Let’s look at the first use of others.

  • These shoes are too small. Do you have any other shoes?

You can see other + plural noun.
But repeating the word shoes again sounds repetitive and NOT natural so we use the pronoun others.

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

Others replaces other shoes.

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?

The others can refer to the other people as we have already seen.
But here it can be used to refer to our friends. = What are our other friends doing tonight?

Quick Summary: What is the difference between another, other and others?

A simple rule to help you remember the difference 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. (cups is plural so we use other)
  • I need others. (refers to other cups)

Summary chart

The difference between ANOTHER, OTHER and OTHERS in English

Lesson tags: Adjectives, Another, Countable, Grammar, Nouns, Other, Pronouns
Back to: English Course > Countable & Uncountable Nouns

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