Theoretically, could this sentence be correct when talking about a person with schizophrenia?

"he/she is talking to each other"

I suppose 'herself' or 'himself' would be the better word to use instead of 'each other'.

Just a thought.

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    I think the OP is confusing schizophrenia with multiple personality disorder, aka MPD. They are not the same, although they are often conflated. My favorite example of the conflation: 'Roses are red / Violets are blue / I'm schizophrenic / And so am I.' It's both medically and politically incorrect, but funny. – MT_Head Jun 23 '12 at 17:57
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    Also: persons with multiple personalities do NOT generally "talk to each other"; persons with schizophrenia often DO have auditory hallucinations (aka 'voices in their head'). I suppose that one might argue that the hallucination comes from within, so answering/arguing with a hallucination is a form of talking to oneself... but no, I would not call it "talking to each other." – MT_Head Jun 23 '12 at 18:01
  • Why doesn't 'he is talking to himself' capture everything that needs to be said in the manner you're trying to do it? Technically, you'd say 'One of his personalities is talking to another.' – Mitch Jun 23 '12 at 19:53
  • Maybe: His personalities are talking among themselves. – GEdgar Jun 23 '12 at 20:00
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    But actual sufferers of MPD don't do that. – MT_Head Jun 23 '12 at 21:09

Putting aside the question of medical accuracy, the short answer is that the grammatical correctness of an expression is not going to depend on contingent medical facts. "He/she is talking to himself/herself" is grammatically correct (and often applies to perfectly normal people). "He/she is talking to each other" is not.

That said, sometimes speakers or writers intentionally use a jarring or ungrammatical phrase to draw attention to an unusual phenomenon, and the "individual as a collection" is such a phenomenon. My favorite such phrase is "I debated amongst myself". Even when phrases like this aren't outright ungrammatical, they're very jarring to a reader, and should be used only when that effect is specifically desired.


If you wanted to express this idea comprehensibly in English, you could say:

He is talking to his other self

(or "his other selves"). Or maybe even

he is talking among himselves.

But "he is talking to each other" is not going to be understood.


As the example is semantically unsound in general (see below), it is still so even if you are attempting to talk about a person with schizophrenia.

Presumably he/she denotes one of the terms he or she, which is singular, while "talking to each other" presupposes a plural subject.

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