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I want to see the difference between "another" and "other" in this context. I know that another may mean "additional" or "of a different kind". What about "other" in this case? What does it mean?

1 Give me another two shirts.

2 Give me two other shirts.

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4

Option 1. indicates two more shirts of the same kind (as those you just purchased, for instance). Option 2. means that you want two more, but that are different from the one(s) you already have.

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  • Just to be in the loop. Do you speak AmE or BrE or Australian? – user1425 Aug 26 '19 at 13:15
  • @user1425 It’s the same in all three. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 27 '19 at 7:16
  • This has zero to do with the variety of English. It is important for learners to realize that this type of thing is exactly the same in Australia, New Zealand, the US or England, etc. etc. – Lambie Aug 29 '19 at 14:35
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I can think of two ways of interpreting the second sentence, but it is still different from the first in either interpretation.

Depending on context, the following interpretations are possible:

1. Give me another two shirts.

a) Give me two more of the same type of shirt.
→ If you've already given me two shirts, I will now have four shirts.


2. Give me two other shirts.

a) Take these two shirts back and give me two different ones instead.
→ Once I've decided which I like, I will end up with two shirts.

b) Give me two more shirts, but make them different from those you've already given me.
→ If you've already given me two shirts, I will now have two shirts of at least one type and another two shirts of at least one other type.


But regardless of the context and how the second sentence is interpreted, another and other mean something different:

another two:

  • two more
  • two additional

two other:

  • two different as replacements
  • two different in addition

Note that of the same type is somewhat vague too. It's possible that the type of shirt itself could be random. In which case, there would be no effective difference between 1.a) and 2.b), and it would be theoretically possible for every shirt to be different from the rest. But that would be a practical result rather than one of semantics.

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  • Please could you clarify "two more", seeing as you contrast it with "two additional"? – Rosie F Aug 27 '19 at 7:48
  • All three are synonymous; another two, two more, and two additional. They mean roughly the same thing. – Jason Bassford Aug 27 '19 at 11:41
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"Another two shirts" has two interpretations:

  • two additional shirts (as Jason Bassford said)
  • two shirts instead

Neither of these imply that the desired shirts must be of the same kind as any previously mentioned shirts -- nor that they must be of a different kind. For all we know, the speaker might already have 3 shirts but want 5 in total, and doesn't care if they are identical.

If you need to make clear that you want shirts of a different kind, you'd need to use additional words. If you want just one shirt of a different kind to those you'd been offered, you could say "Give me a different shirt". If you want two shirts, both of a different kind to those you'd been offered, you could say "Give me two shirts different from these". (A problem with "Give me two different shirts" is that it can mean "Give me two shirts which are different from each other".)

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  • Why didn't you comment on "other"? – user1425 Aug 27 '19 at 13:56

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