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I recently saw someone intentionally use "eachother" instead of "each other". In what circumstances would this be correct?

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It does appear that in the case you cite, the change to eachother was done by a foreigner (listed location: Netherlands, age 15). In Dutch, each other is the single word elkaar. –  nohat Sep 5 '10 at 17:46
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To me, it sounds about as correct as foreach or goto. –  dbkk Sep 5 '10 at 18:38
    
@nohat - That would be me, and while I do speak English natively, I like anyone still make mistakes. I stand corrected. (In my defence, I have seen it used by a native speaker, which is where I picked it up anyway) –  Arda Xi Sep 6 '10 at 5:34
    
@dbkk: There are also languages with control statements like ifelse; that doesn't mean that ifelse sounds correct, in English. –  kiamlaluno Sep 6 '10 at 11:26
    
@Arda Xi, I don’t mean to judge you negatively; I just presented a theory that I thought might explain the error. I guess my theory was wrong. –  nohat Sep 7 '10 at 19:02
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3 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

In my view this is not a valid alternate for "each other" under any circumstances. I would go as far as saying it's plain incorrect.

Saying that, Wiktionary lists it as a "non-standard spelling", though that's an understatement. Neither the OED nor Webster's lists it at all. I have certainly never seen it used by any native speaker of English in my life.

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I always try to spell it as "eachother." The only reason I don't is because of the red squiggly underline demanding I spell it correctly. I don't understand how this is any different from "cannot" versus "can not." –  jdstankosky Dec 21 '12 at 15:16
    
@jdstankosky: Very obviously difference. One is widely accepted and used; one is not. Whether you believe in prescriptive or conventional correctness of language, there's a clear-cut reason that "each other" is not acceptable while "cannot" is. –  Noldorin Dec 21 '12 at 23:22
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I don't remember seeing this before. If I was given some English text to correct and saw "eachother" I would certainly change it to "each other".

But, looking at the Wiktionary there are quite a few examples:

1826, G. H. C. Egestorff (translator), Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock (author), Klopstock's Messiah (Der Messias), canto XIV, lines 94–6, page 427:

The pilgrims to the heavenly Salem, who / By nature for eachother were design’d, / In this life oft are near, yet do not meet.

1921 April, Charles Johnston, "Tao-Teh-King: An Interpretation of Lao Tse's Book of the Way and of Righteousness", part I (of VIII), in The Theosophical Quarterly, volume XVIII, The Theosophical Society, page 347:

Lao Tse is seeking to make clear the relation of the unmanifested and the manifested Logos to eachother, as poles of the same Being.

Google books turns up a lot more hits, including the above, which seem to date back a fair way. An interesting one is this English grammar book from 1814.

There are 8,900,000 hits for "eachother" on Google compared to 135,000,000 for "each other".

So it seems to be a kind of minority/historical spelling.

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I've never come across "eachother" before, and would dare to claim it isn't ever correct, but more like a spelling mistake.

Or, to put it more "descriptively" (as seems to be customary), "eachother" at least is not standard in any common variety of English. :-)

Some statistical evidence: The Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) finds 10 occurrences of "eachother" (versus 56,000 for "each other"). Also historically it has enjoyed only very sporadic use: Corpus of Historical American English (COHA) lists 24 (vs 60,000) occurrences in material from 1810 to 2009. I wouldn't say this qualifies "eachother" as correct.

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