Even people who have spoken and written English their whole lives can become confused about an expression used for a shared association. Many wonder whether this expression should be written eachother or each other.
Luckily, the solution to this quandary is straightforward. Each other should always be two words separated by a space. The question remains, how did people become unnecessarily confused bout this expression?
The Root of the Each Other Confusion
There are two likely reasons that writers become confused between each other or eachother. One is verbal, the other logical.
Firstly, consider how you would say the phrase each other in everyday life. Try reciting this sentence as naturally as possible:
David and Josh and have always treated each other with suspicion.
In everyday conversation, the words each and other merge into something like a single word. You might even find that the ch sound migrates to the other word, so it sounds like ee-chother.
Secondly, there is a precedent for these words merging. When you consider words like someone or anybody, it’s unsurprising that even seasoned English writers would be inclined to combine the words in each other.
The Importance of Both Each and Other
We have established that there are logical reasons a writer might think each other should be one word. How, then, can we remember that the expression is always two words?
Let’s consider the phrase systematically. It is a naturally reciprocal expression. Its two words must remain together to create to make any sense.
Here is an example. Imagine you are ordering a lobster from a tank. You only want one lobster. You cannot ask for each, even though it is a singular pronoun. It also implies the presence of multiple similar items.
By the same token, you could not ask for an other lobster without choosing a preliminary lobster to count it against. To communicate the reciprocal relationship, you need both each and other.
A Simple Trick for Remembering
There is a trick for confirming whether it is each other or eachother. Try inserting the into the phrase. Here is how you would do it:
Original Sentence: Zane and Murray are annoyed with each other.
Adjusted Sentence: Zane and Murray are each annoyed with the other.
Bear in mind; the second phrasing has an over-wrought quality to it that will hurt your writing. This is simply a tool to remind you that each other should always be a two-word expression.
Related: Here is another set of words that cause spelling confusion: A part vs. apart.
Want to sharpen your business writing skills? Discover our acclaimed online courses at syntaxtraining.com Whether you want to learn about taking taking meeting notes, become a master proofreader, master punctuation or tune-up your business writing skills, our courses are here to help you.