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Can “another” be used with plural nouns provided periods or measurements don’t count?

Here is the context (found in a forum for learners of English)

WAITRESS: Do you two students want more pie? We have two flavors.

STUDENT A: Yes. I already had one slice of apple pie, and now I would like another one.

STUDENT B: Yes, but I already had a slice of apple, so now I would like to try the other one.

1 "Another one" means "one more of the same." 2 "the other one" means "a different one."

It's pretty much clear with two objects but it's not clear for me if there were three different objects.

WAITRESS: Do you two students want more pie? We have three flavors.

STUDENT A: Yes. I already had one slice of apple pie, and now I would like another one.

STUDENT B: Yes, but I already had a slice of apple, so now I would like to try ....

What does B have to say? If he says:

1) "another" - he gets the same flavor

2) "the other" - is not possible as it implies only one while there are two left.

What shall B say?

PS: There are many questions dealing with other/another but I failed to find one dealing with this very matter, if there is still one out there I am sorry not to have found it.

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marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, Zairja, Mitch, MετάEd, Mark Beadles Oct 29 '12 at 23:12

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Is the example with 3 objects from the text book? –  Matt Эллен Oct 28 '12 at 14:09
1  
Most grammar books don't like inconvinient contexts. –  user1425 Oct 28 '12 at 14:14
    
There should be a badge for that comment, user1425. –  StoneyB Oct 28 '12 at 14:26

3 Answers 3

People would just say

Yes, but I already had a slice of apple, so now I would like to try a different pie.

Well, they wouldn't say that, it's overly verbose. They'd more likely say

Yes, but a different pie.

and then specify the pie.

If you have to use another or other you could try

Yes, and/but I'll try another pie this time.

and then specify the pie.

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So one way out of it is to use "different". However, your suggestion with "another pie this time" seems to mean "an extra slice of the same pie" rather than "an extra slice of a different pie". May be I shouldn't abide by this definition "1 "Another one" means "one more of the same." As you suggest it may mean "one more of a different kind" –  user1425 Oct 28 '12 at 14:25
    
Just another idea. Is it possible (correct) to say: "Give me one other slice"? Seems like we have: a different slice= another slice = (?) one other slice –  user1425 Oct 28 '12 at 14:29
2  
@user1425 Another, all by itself, in this context would take the default scope "what I just had": "Another slice of the same pie". If that's not what you want, you have to narrow the scope. One way is to say "Another slice, but of a different pie." Another, however, may also take the meaning "a different"; by introducing it with but you constrain this interpretation: "but another pie". –  StoneyB Oct 28 '12 at 14:37
1  
Person B would just say, "Yes, but I already had a slice of apple, so now I would like to try the lemon meringue." :^) –  J.R. Oct 29 '12 at 0:31

In English, we use the other for the second in a pair, while we use another for a further element in a series. You must carefully distinguish these two cases:

  1. Using a definite determiner there means there is no more than that one alone, being definite and all. Being definite, it is conclusive.
  2. Using an indefinite determiner means you are not specifying that the one indicated is all there is. Being indefinite, we do not know what else there may or may not be.

So in example, with queried versions being at least rare, if not actually suspect:


  1. Definite:

    • I want the other one. I want the other.
    • I want that other one. (?I want that other.)
    • I want this other one. (?I want this other.)
    • I want both other ones. I want both others.
  2. Indefinite:

    • I want another one. I want another.
    • I want some other one. (?I want some other.)
    • I want no other one. I want no other.

This distinction of two versus many, or of definite versus indefinite, is hardly unique to English. In fact, it’s quite common, for it has been around for rather a long time in Western tongues.

For example in Latin, there were two kinds of other. When it was part of a natural pair, one used alter, which corresponds to “the other” in English. Otherwise you used alias, which corresponds to “another”. And Spanish uses just otro for “another”, but el otro for “the other”. Other Romance tongues sometimes use an indefinite determiner for the indefinite alternative.

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I’d say a different one or another one of the same.

As for the other possibilities, human language is ambiguous sometimes.

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