You know we use 'each other/one another' instead of reflexives (e.g themselves) when the similar action goes both ways between 2 or more people.

I was reading these examples from a grammar book,

The candidates described each other. (Each one described the other one)

The candidates described themselves. (Each one described himself or herself)

When I wondered what if I want to say 'each candidate described himself and the other one'. Well of course my first thought was,

The candidates described themselves and each other.

Is there a word that I can use instead of 'themselves and each other'? Can I write the sentence in a better way?

2 Answers 2


The candidates described themselves and each other.

This works absolutely fine, however I feel it would need more description to make it work in real usage. It seems like an odd scenario and the sentence would need to change to explain the reason why the candidates were being asked to undertake such a task. Grammatically, it makes sense.

The reason that there is not a specific word is because they are two different requests. A candidate is asked to describe themselves and then asked to describe the others as an insider of that group. It would be slightly different if you were outside of the group, but even then, an observer would be asked to describe Person A and the other members of the group; this is two separate requests.

One word would just be far too specific for the concept. It's the same as not having a word for 'you and that bowl of apples on the kitchen counter'.


This is a really good question - one I'd certainly never thought about before (it's a fairly rare situation) but when you see it, it's an obvious gap.

My first thought was 'one another', but that phrase fulfills essentially the same criteria as 'each other' - that is, describing the other entities, but not themselves.

I can think of several ways of a group member to describe the group as a whole (thus automatically including themselves in the description) but that doesn't seem to really capture the scenario we are talking about, where one entity gives several separate descriptions, one of which covers themselves.

It certainly seems like there should be a reflexive pronoun which covers it, but I've thus far been unable to uncover one. Of course, this just guarantees that there will turn out to be one, and then I'll feel silly.

Until that happens, however,

The candidates described themselves and each other/one another

appears to be the best method of handling the situation.

  • So the answer is simply 'No'. 😃 Thank you Damien H and BTW I edited that part 😉.
    – Yuri
    Mar 23, 2016 at 12:15

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