People are always talking about each other behind each other's back.

Should be other's or others' or if they are both ok, and why?

Should be back or backs here?

The effect of each other is confusing me here.

  • Welcome to ELL - which part of the sentence do you think isn't grammatical or natural sounding? – ColleenV Apr 13 '17 at 13:55
  • @ColleenV Would that edit be enough to fix it? – Araucaria - Not here any more. Apr 13 '17 at 14:43
  • I've edited your post to get it reopened, as I think this is probably what's confusing you. If you want to roll back the edit, feel free. (You can explain what is confusing for you in the question) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Apr 13 '17 at 15:07
  • @Araucaria Yep, that will do it. Thanks for taking the time. – ColleenV Apr 13 '17 at 16:19
  • First decide if the word each indicates a singular other or a plural others, which should then be made possessive. – Davo Apr 13 '17 at 16:47

The sentence is grammatically correct. but you are right, it feels clumsy, and the mixture of singular and plural is uncomfortable. A quick check of google suggests both singular and plural used. The plural, "backs", seems more common.

Talking behind someone's back implies talking about each other, so you don't need to say the first part, and we can look for synonyms for the second. How about:

People are always gossiping about each other.

People are always spreading rumours.

People are always speaking ill of each other. (more formal)

There are also some gendered insults that could be used here, but I couldn't recommend them.

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