Alternative Pro-forms

Alternative means 'choice.' When we have many choices, we talk about one, another, and the other. These words signal the alternatives.

Alternative Pro-forms in English Grammar

What Are Alternative Pro-forms?

Alternative means 'choice'. Alternative pro-forms are a type of pro-form that offer a choice between two or more options and signal the alternatives in the sentence.

Alternative Words

Because of their meaning, some determiners, pronouns, and adverbs are usually used in alternative contexts. Let's have a look:

  1. one
  2. (the) other
  3. another
  4. Someone else/somebody else
  5. Something else
  6. Elsewhere
  7. Another time


Other as a Determiner

'Other' as a determiner means the 'alternative' or the 'different' type of something. It is used:

  • with singular uncountable nouns

Our website sells pop music. It sells no other music.

For other information, please consult a parent.

  • with plural nouns

We surveyed children from other countries.

Other hotels are all full.

  • when 'other' is used before a singular countable noun, we must use another determiner before it.

I don't like the purple one. I prefer the other color.

We need to discuss our other problem.


'Other' as a determiner does not have a plural form.

The other kids kept on playing. (Not 'The others kids...')

Other as a Pronoun

Using "the other" as an alternative pro-form

'Other' can be used as a pronoun. As a pronoun, it can have both a singular and a plural form. For example:

We have to tackle this issue, more than any other.

Two photos are attached to this email and others will be sent tomorrow.


When 'other' as a pronoun refers to more than one person or thing, it takes the plural form. For example:

Some people agreed; others disagreed. (Not 'Some people agreed; other disagreed.')

The Other

The Other as a Determiner

The Other with Singular Countable Nouns

'The other' can be used before a singular countable noun to give an additional choice or alternative, usually when there are two alternatives. It can also mean different types of something.

This room is occupied. Please use the other room.

This book has many illustrations. The other book has more.

The Other with Plural Nouns

Using 'the other' with a plural noun means we are referring to the remaining people or things in a group. For example:

Sam and Mike are here, but where are the other guys?

(the remaining people in a group)

Have you eaten the other two eggs? I can only find four.

(the remaining things in a group – here six eggs)

The Other as a Pronoun

'The other' can be used as a pronoun, especially when we want to refer back to something already mentioned. For example:

She had her drink in one hand and her cigarette in the other.

I have two puppies, one is black and the other is brown.


When we use the indefinite article 'an' before 'other', we get 'another'. It means one more or an alternative or an additional.

Another as a Determiner

We use 'another' with singular nouns. It can not be used with plural nouns. For example:

Would you like another cup of coffee?

I don’t like this place. Is there another café around here we could go to?

Another wonderful movies to watch include The Star Wars and The Lord of The Rings.

Another as a Pronoun

We can use 'another' as a pronoun. Take a look at some examples:

I don't like this shirt. Do you have another?

After you finish reading this book, you should start reading another.


Else with Indefinite Pronouns

We can use 'else' after indefinite pronouns and 'all' to mean 'other,' 'another,' 'different' or 'additional'. For example:

There's something else I'd like to talk about.

I was free to go, as was everyone else.

Above all else, he wanted to find love.

Else with Wh-words

'Else' is used after wh- question words to mean besides or in addition to someone or something. It is also used to talk about a different person, thing, place, etc.

What else can I do?

Where else can I go, if not home?

If I can't trust you, who else can I trust?


Do not use 'else' after which.

Which else do you want?

Which other one do you want?


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