Take a look at this UTME question:

• The Head of State in his New Year Broadcast to the nation emphasized the need for Nigerians to regard ____ as members of the same family.
A. Themselves
B. One another
C. Each other
D. Yourselves
E. Theirselves
UTME 1979 q94

So, which one of the options is the most appropriate?

Yes, option B

This question is testing you on your knowledge of reciprocal pronouns.

They’re pronouns that express mutual actions.

To put more elaborately, reciprocal pronouns are those pronouns used when a sense reciprocity or symbiotic relationship is expressed.

For example, I love you and you love me. That’s reciprocal. “I do it to you, you do it to me.”

You’d have heard in one of Nice’s long gone popular songs… “Respect is reciprocal, ori ko jo ri 🕺🕺🕺

Yes, it means, “if you respect me, I will respect you

That is a sense of reciprocity, you do it to me, I do it to you.

The only pronouns that show this relationship of reciprocity are just two:

Do you understand?

Now, back to the question, as a citizen of Nigeria, the Head of State admonished that I regard you as a member of a family and you also regard me as a member of the same family.

I do it to you, you do it to me.

A sense of reciprocity is shown.

What are the pronouns to use in that case?

– one another
– each other

But of course, the Head of State is addressing a lot of people, hence, between “one another” and “each other”, in this case, which one is more appropriate?

Yes, “one another”.


Because it refers to three or more people.

While “each other” only refers to “TWO people”

Themselves” on the other hand isn’t a reciprocal pronoun.

It’s denote that one individual is particular about himself or herself.

Do you understand?

Always remember, there are only two pronouns that denote reciprocity

  • Each other, and
  • One another

Here’s a question for you.

• Did the boys enjoy ___ when they went on vacation?
A. Each other
B. One another
C. Themselves
D. Theirselves
UTME 1995 q 83

Hint – You can’t enjoy someone else, you can only enjoy yourself. Therefore, no sense of reciprocity is shown here.

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