English grammar - Other or Another? (+ Learn 2 idioms with ANOTHER)

Do you know the difference between other and another?

Other or Another? Learn the difference

I was teaching a private lesson in a cafe last week. My student works in a hotel, and she was telling me about something that happened at work. She explained the situation and I helped her to talk about it using natural English.

~ One of the guests wasn't happy with his room so he was moved to another one.

*was moved is the passive voice. Learn that grammar here

My student wasn't clear on the difference between other and another. Here is the explanation I gave her, I hope it's useful for you too!

① another = one more; an extra thing or person

This is a common way to use another in conversation. Think of another as 2 words, an other. We know that the articles a and an mean 1.

A piece of pizza = 1 piece of pizza

An umbrella = 1 umbrella

It's raining, I'd better take an umbrella

It's easy to see that another (an_other) can mean 1 more thing. Please look at the following examples:

  • The extra thing can be a singular noun.
“Would you like another drink?”
(Would you like one more drink?)

"I ate a piece of cake after dinner, it was very tasty so I had another!"
(One more piece of cake.)

"As soon as I finished my task at work my boss gave me another... I have to work overtime tonight."
(I have an extra task to do now)

"Another Starbucks is opening downtown next week. There will be 6 cafes in 3 blocks!"
(One more Starbucks is coming)

📓Grammar note

  • The extra thing can also be a plural noun that follows of.
“Clark put salt in the sugar cup again! It's another of his stupid tricks!”
(It's one more of his stupid tricks.)

  • Or the extra thing can be by a number and a plural noun.
“Are we there yet?
“We're close, just another 5 kilometers.”
(5 more kilometers until we arrive.)

A: “Are you finished folding the laundry?”
B: ‘No, I've got another 4 shirts to fold.”
(I have 4 more shirts to fold.)

Just another 5 kilometers

Compare other

~ other is used to refer to people or things that are additional or different to people or things that have been mentioned or are known about (not just one more)

“Are there any other questions?”
(You heard the first questions, are there additional [more] / different questions?)

📓Grammar note

Other is often used with plural countable nouns.

“Stacy and 3 other students were late for class because of the sudden, heavy rainstorm.”

Any other questions?

For additional uses of other please check Oxford Learner's dictionary .com

🔴What about my student's example?

One of the guests wasn't happy with his room so he was moved to another one.

The guest didn't get one more room, he got a different room. This is the second meaning of another.

② another = different; a different person or thing

“It's raining today, let's go to the park another time.”
(A different time than today.)

“The shirt had a small stain on the sleeve so I asked the store staff for another one.”
(A different shirt with no stains)

“One of the guests wasn't happy with his room so he was moved to another one.”

Can I get another room?

The word another has a third use.
③ another = a person or thing of a very similar type

"My niece is a great artist. She's going to be another Leonardo da Vinci!" (= as talented and famous as him)
*Do you know the difference between the adjectives famous and popular? Learn the difference here
"It was sad to lose Robin Williams in 2014. He was a great comedian, there will never be another like him."

Idioms with another

Idioms from idioms.thefreedictionary.com

one way or another - by some means, by some method
*We often use this expression when we are confident that something will be done, even if we don't know how yet.

"I had never built a fence before, but I would get it done one way or another." = I don't have experience building a fence, but I will complete this task somehow, some way.

"My blog was offline for a few days, but I was determined to get it back online one way or another."

Customer support

one after another - one (noun) after another
first one person or thing, and then another, and then another, in a row and often quickly; adding up to a large amount

"I had a great time fishing this morning! I was catching one fish after another." = I caught many fish in a row, in the end, I had a lot of fish.

"This house was a bad investment. The repair bills kept coming in, one after another." = I got many repair bills for my new house, the came quickly and in a row.

The repair bills kept coming in, one after another

Bonus PDF Download

Extra English that you learned from this blog post and (maybe) didn’t even realize!

In this special PDF, I will highlight some of the other grammar used in our example sentences.

  • 3 common English preposition examples
  • How we use the verb TO BE in questions
  • Other vocabulary and expressions
(Current Newsletter subscribers will find a PDF in there mailbox soon.)

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