How to say each other: Italian grammar lesson 155

Stefano

Italian language tutor, course author. MEng, MBA. Member of the International Association of Hyperpolyglots (HYPIA). After learning 12 languages, I can tell you that we all master languages by listening and mimicking. I couldn't find an app to recommend to my students, so I made my own one. With my method, you'll be speaking Italian from Lesson 1.

Summary

Dive into the Italian language and master the art of saying “each other” with finesse! This guide will teach you the nuances of reciprocal pronouns and how to use them with different genders and prepositions. 🇮🇹👫

  • Reflexive verbs in Italian often imply reciprocity, but adding l’un l’altro or a vicenda emphasizes that two people are performing the action on each other. 🔄
  • Use l’un l’altro to stress the mutual nature of an action. It’s like putting a spotlight on the give-and-take in relationships. 💡
  • When mixing genders, modify altro to altra for feminine nouns, but keep un as is. Remember, gents first for a smooth flow in Italian! 👫
  • Prepositions can join the party with l’un l’altro. Match them with the verb’s needs, like l’uno con l’altro for “be honest with.” 🎉
  • Gender and number agreement is crucial when prepositions split up l’un l’altro. Keep your Italian grammar in check for flawless sentences. ✅
  • For a group vibe, switch to gli uni degli altri when talking about trusting “each other” in a collective sense. It’s all about the squad goals in Italian! 🤝

How to say each other in Italian?

In a previous lesson, we’ve seen one way of saying each other: with reflexive verbs.

L’uno and l’altro  pronouns, on their own, are just two indefinite pronouns, but when used together, they take on a reciprocal meaning and can complement reciprocal verbs. And become l’un l’altro, each other.

Let’s have a look at some examples:

Mario e Gianni si aiutano l’un l’altro.

Mario and Gianni help each other.

Noi ci rispettiamo l’un l’altro.

We respect each other.

When to use l’un l’altro and a vicenda?

each other italian

We will use these reciprocal pronouns when we want to emphasize that the action is reciprocal, or to make the sentence more clear, even after using a reflexive verb.

In fact, the following sentences have basically the same meaning, but the second puts more emphasis on reciprocity.

In the third example, on the other hand, you will find the expression a vicenda, which also means each other.

Luca e Alberto si aiutano.

Luca and Alberto help each other.

Luca e Alberto si aiutano l’un l’altro.

Luca and Alberto help each other.

Luca e Alberto si aiutano a vicenda.

Luca and Alberto help each other.

How to use l’un l’altro with feminine nouns?

how to say each other italian

When one of the nouns is feminine, we can change altro for altra, but we usually do not change un.

Have a look at the following example:

Giacomo e Maria si aiutano l’un l’altra.

Giacomo and Maria help each other.

Il ragazzo e la ragazza si amano l’un l’altra.

The boy and the girl love each other.

When building the sentence, it is good to have the masculine noun first and the feminine second so as to maintain the order of the mentioned genders in the pronouns, as we will not say l’una l’altro.

How to use l’un l’altro with prepositions?

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gli uni degli altri

L’un l’altro can also be used with different prepositions separating the two words, depending on which preposition the verb requires.

With essere sincero con (be honest with), for example, we will use l’uno con l’altro, while with fidarsi di qualcuno (to trust someone), we will use l’uno dell’altro, etc.

When they are separated by a preposition, the two pronouns need to agree with the gender and number of the nouns described. Have a look at the following examples:

Maria e Giulia sono sincere l’una con l’altra.

Maria and Giulia are honest with each other.

Bisogna fidarsi gli uni degli altri.

We must trust each other.

Io e te siamo fatte l’una per l’altra.

We are made for each other.

Noi non sappiamo niente le une delle altre.

We do not know anything about each other.

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FAQs on How to say each other: Italian grammar lesson 155

When to use "l'un l'altro"?

We will use these reciprocal pronouns when we want to emphasize that the action is reciprocal, or to make the sentence more clear, even after using a reflexive verb.

How is "l'un l'altro" with feminine nouns?

For concordance it becomes "l'un l'altra".

How to use "l'un l'altro" with prepositions?

Usually prepositions separate the two words, depending on which preposition the verb requires.

Italian word of the day
contento
Example
Finalmente abbiamo finito! Sono proprio contento.
Finally we’re done! I’m really glad.
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