Can I use the word counterpart this way:

He knows his counterparts in each branch.

The context is that he works as the marketing manager in one of the company branches. And the counterparts refer to those who work as the marketing manager in other branches. Or should add something in front of the "counterpart"?

  • 2
    Please do not edit "thanks!" into your post. It's considered noise, so it shouldn't be there. – simchona Dec 27 '12 at 7:41
  • Showing contempt and sneering at newcomers reflects very badly -- do not down vote for personal reasons. There are excellent candidates out there that deserve your down votes -- go find them. – Kris Dec 27 '12 at 11:08

Counterpart is the right word, as shown with Barrie's research in the OED:

A person or thing not exactly similar to another, but serving as its equivalent in a different context.

There is a question about number, though.

Each branch is treated as singular, or at least considered individually, and if there is only one marketing manager in each branch, your sentence should be

He knows his counterpart in each branch.

An equivalent when considering plural branches, and therefore more than one manager, is

He knows his counterparts in other branches.

If there is more than manager per branch, then counterparts in each branch is fine.

  • Thank you Andrew. There is only one marketing manager in each branch, so I'd say "he knows his counterpart in each branch". You've been very helpful. Have a nice day! – lessismore Dec 27 '12 at 8:21

One of the meanings of counterpart is ‘A person or thing not exactly similar to another, but serving as its equivalent in a different context’ (OED). That would make the plural, counterparts, a suitable word to use in the way in which it is used in your example. An alternative, slightly less formal, is opposite numbers.

  • Thank you Barrie. But would you explain a bit about "Opposite Numbers"? Isn't it a math term? Excuse me for my confusion as I am not a native speaker:) – lessismore Dec 27 '12 at 8:20
  • Opposite number is an idiom, meaning, again in the OED’s definition, a person or (occasionally) organization holding an equivalent place or fulfilling an equivalent role to another specified person or organization in a different country, group, institution, etc.; a partner, a counterpart. – Barrie England Dec 27 '12 at 8:23
  • Opposite number is a sporting metaphor, and started as British slang (an inaccurate metaphor relating to numbered players - inaccurate as numbers may not correspond with roles). It originally meant counterpart of a rival or enemy - so the metaphor was with opposing teams - and then spread to less rivalous cases. I stopped using it when, while running a university society, I referred to the head of another university's equivalent society as "my opposite number", and some unfamiliar with the phrase thought it meant we were dating. – Jon Hanna Dec 27 '12 at 10:43
  • Hi Jon, you mean it may cause confusion sometimes? I was wondering in what cases would it be safe to use the expression "opposite number"? Is it commonly used by native speakers? – lessismore Dec 27 '12 at 11:42

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