English Lesson: “Other” vs “Another”

If you heard the phrase “my another friend”, would you know it’s incorrect English? Would you know how to fix it?

Before we jump into the correction, let’s first review our understanding of “other” and “another”. I think it’s easier to cover “another”, so we’ll do that one first.

When we use “another”, it’s in terms of “one more” or “a new one”. For example, if you’re dining out, you might say:

  • I’d like another drink.
  • Can I have another order of fries?

If you have something that’s getting old (usually a piece of technology), you’ll eventually need to replace it. In this case, we can also use “another” to describe the need for “a new one”:

  • I need to get another phone (mine’s getting old).
  • I need to get another watch (this one’s broken).

However, “other” is used to differentiate between two or more objects. Imagine you’re at a party and your friend asks you to grab his drink off the counter. You might take one and ask, “This one?”

If you’re wrong, your friend will point out, “No, the other one (the different one).”

Here’s another example: your friend points out a dog at the park, but there’s lots of dogs. You notice a cute puppy and ask “That one?” Again, you’re wrong. So your friend has to say “No, the other one.”

So if you wanted to use “other” in the context of friends, how could that work? Maybe you bring two friends to a party and need to introduce them to the crowd. “Here’s my friend Tom, and my other friend Lisa.”

If you think through the context, “my another friend” just doesn’t work.

If you’re interested in learning more conversational English like this, connect with Jon to sign up for online private English coaching or face-to-face sessions in Boston. We’ll work on making you sound like a native speaker.

Published by Jon Dao

Formerly, the Conversation Coach

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