Well, the question is in the title... I'd be very thankful for an explanation, but also:

Could you give examples of cases where they are and are not interchangeable?

Can I use them for "where are the others/is the rest?"? Or "other than that, I'm not sure"?

When in doubt, which to use? (which is most general?)

This question is similar to this one but I'm also curious about 另外, and in the general sense, not just with 人. I also found reddit (useful but frozen) and Chinesepod (too expensive for one answer).

  • 1
    At first glance as a native Chinese speaker: 别的, 另外的 and 其他(的) are almost the same for the meaning "other", but 其他/其他的 is a little more formal. Besides, you should be aware that for the meaning "besides / in addition" as an adverb, only 另外 fits.
    – Stan
    Dec 10, 2015 at 9:59
  • 1
    The only thing I know is that 别的 can't be used with numbers. You have to use 另外 in that case. 我读了另外两本书。/ 我读了别的两本书。(wrong) Dec 10, 2015 at 13:30
  • 2
    – user6065
    Dec 10, 2015 at 15:37
  • 2
    2就着个房间空着,其他都住人了。(主语,别的✓另外✗) 3琳琳就是个子矮一点,其他都不错。(主语,别的✓另外✗)4就这几个学生差一点,别的都不错。(主语,其他✓另外✗)5我们玩点别的吧。(宾语,其他✗另外✗)6你还想买别的吗?(宾语,其他✗另外✗)
    – user6065
    Dec 10, 2015 at 15:38
  • 2
    @user6065 Good points. Should be posted as an answer. And the dictionary is very helpful too.
    – Stan
    Dec 10, 2015 at 15:45

4 Answers 4


When talking about English and Chinese, we will find that there are many English words stand for more than one meaning in Chinese, such as other(s) in Chinese. It means 其他 or 其它. Although they look like, they are quite different.

Chinese: 其他/其它

pinyin: qí tā

meaning: other(s)

  1. Similarities of 其他 and 其它

1). Same pronunciation

Both 其它 and 其他 are pronounced qí tā.

2). Same meaning

Both of them mean “other” or “others”.

3). Same part or speech

Both of them are pronoun.

  1. Difference between 其他 and 其它

其它 and 其他, generally speaking, are almost the same. They differenciate with each other in two aspects.

1). Indicate different objects

其他 can refer to any creatures, including human, animals and stuff without life, such as 其他学生(other students), 其他城市(other cities), 其他电脑(other computers). While 其它 can’t refer to human, for instance 其它动物(other animals), 其它桌子(other desks).

2). Appear at different time

In the beginning, there is only 其他 available. Gradually, 其它 was created out of the actual requirement. Hense, 其他 emerges before 其它.


"另外“ as attributive (i.e., modifying a noun) implies the remaining selection of a closed set, which in English is represented by the definite article 'the' or 'this/that/these/those':

1a. 我们班上十个人要来,另外3个都说不能来. "10 people from our class are coming, the other 3 said they can't. [Implication: the class has 13 people total]

1b. 甲: 生病学生怎么办? A: What do we do about the sick students?

 乙: 把病状较严重的那个送到医院去, 把另外那个就送回家去。
     Send the one with the more severe symptoms to the hospital, and just send 
     **the other** one home.
   [Implication:  there are exactly 2 sick students, no more, no less]

You cannot use "别的/其他" in this case. 别的/其他 imply selection from the open set that includes all things outside of what has already been stated:

  1. 我只喜欢喝我妈妈做的烫,别人的烫我都不喜欢喝。
    I only like the soup my mom makes, I don’t like to eat anyone else's soup. [Implication: the set of possible choices of soup-makers is open; it could be
    literally anyone else's soup and the result will still be that the speaker doesn't like it]

3a 你要吃别的吗? Do you want to eat something else? [Implication: a different restaurant, a different dish, a different cuisine, but of
a different type to what is being considered]

b 你要吃另外一个吗? Do you want to eat the other one? [Implication: there is only choice remaining, whether the last portion of the same dish, or one different dish, or one other restaurant]


别的 n 其他have the same meaning.另外,for my opinion,is something like'other than this':他除了要照顾年迈的奶奶,另外还要做许多家务。(He needs to take care of his old grand, also needs to do many housework)
it have different meaning with the other two.correct me if im wrong :)

  • There is one more -- 除了, (apart from, besides) e.g. 除了 华文,埃及文也使用象形文字, (Apart from Chinese, Egyptian also uses hieroglyphs) Feb 1, 2020 at 4:49

別的 & 其他 are similar. EG: You can use other methods. 別的方法 / 其他方法 other methods

另外's usage is adv in english. Always use in the beginning of the sentences. 另外 in addition

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