2
  1. I have two uncles, one in Chicago and another in Dallas. ( From a workbook)

  2. Stewart summed up the general feeling of the American public today, saying that CNBC and the financial news media could help educate Americans, showing the idea that there are two markets: one for the long term that average Americans invest in and are encouraged to invest in, and another, fast-paced market that exists away from the public eye. (Source)

  3. Once the Fed was in place, there were two sets of rules when it came to money: One set of rules for people who work for money, and another set of rules for the rich who print money. (Source)

I think if there are two elements in a set. The way to refer to the second element is by "the other", not "another". So do you think the sentences above are totally fine or bad grammar, but acceptable?

12
  • 3
    English speakers do not (unless they are very unusual) frame their utterances so as not to offend against the tenets of set theory. Nov 21, 2023 at 13:08
  • 1
    Use of "another" in these examples is perfectly fine. However there's a missing comma after Chicago in your first sentence. Check the source of the quote. It could be typo.
    – Billy Kerr
    Nov 21, 2023 at 13:14
  • 1
    @ForOU - an "and".
    – Billy Kerr
    Nov 21, 2023 at 13:39
  • 3
    @ForOU There are no grammatical errors in the examples. I'm voting to close this question as it is based on a non-existent grammar rule.
    – Billy Kerr
    Nov 21, 2023 at 14:05
  • 2
    @ForOU - it's not a grammar rule. An example: There are two apples. Here is one apple, and here is another. <<--- there is absolutely nothing wrong here. Another here simply means "a different/additional apple". You could use "the other", but this is not a requirement.
    – Billy Kerr
    Nov 21, 2023 at 14:12

1 Answer 1

2

They are perfectly acceptable. Either of the other and another is fine in those examples. But, particularly in the third example, another gives it a slightly different meaning. In sentences like

There are two sets of rules: one for normal people, and another for the rich

the another emphasizes the contrast between the sets of rules, the “otherness” of those rules that apply to the rich. Replacing another in that sentence by the other renders it more nearly a simple, neutral presentation of the sets of rules.

You could compare the difference in meaning to what’s going on between

The hotel provided different meals for guests and their pets

and

The hotel provided separate meals for whites and blacks.

The former is more matter-of-fact. After all, people and goldfish have utterly different dietary requirements. The latter highlights a racial segregation that is now, happily, illegal.

Thus, as is so often the case, context and one’s intended meaning matter a lot.

3
  • I agree the fine nuance of difference in example #3. But I think it stems from the fact that the other "neutrally" references "the other of two", whereas another implies there are (more precisely, could be) a number of alternative "sets of rules". By further implication, although the vast majority of "ordinary people" work for money, and are thus governed by the main rules, the rich people who actually print the money could take their pick from a number of alternative rules that might suit them better. They hold all the aces in this particular game. Nov 21, 2023 at 13:22
  • Thanks. May I ask of the related question? Since our plane was leaving soon we were moved to the front of the line while _(the) others___ remained at the back. Do you think this sentence is fine with or without "the", just as the sentences in OP?
    – ForOU
    Nov 21, 2023 at 14:32
  • 1
    Each is grammatically correct, but they are not interchangeable because they convey different meanings. The others version conveys that there exist people who remained at the back, whereas the the others version assumes that one’s addressees understand some group of people whom one is distinguishing from the people referred to by we. Repeating from my answer, “as is so often the case, context and one’s intended meaning matter a lot.” Nov 21, 2023 at 14:35

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .