I was told they were interchangeable except in few cases. What are they?

  • 互相 can only be adverb。 彼此 can be adverb or noun。Classic usage:你我虽彼此(adverb)不大认识,但为祖国做贡献咱不分彼此(noun)。
    – John
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 6:54

5 Answers 5


Yes and no.

互相 - one another; each other; mutual; mutually.

彼此 - one another; each other.

Above are interpretations from the dictionary, the meanings seem to overlap, but not exactly.

  • 互相 should mean "one another mutually provide some favor in return" - 你我互相幫助 (You help me, and I help you).

  • 彼此 should mean "you and I" or "each other" - 彼此之間 (Between you and me); 不分彼此 (we are equal, nothing divides us).

However, they are interchangeable as in the sentence below:

  • 兄弟姐妹間要互相扶助

  • 兄弟姐妹間要彼此扶助

In the sentences above, both mean "each other", or "one another" - Siblings shall help each other (one another).

Also note that the two can work together in a sentence:

  • 你們要"彼此互相"幫助 - You shall (mutually) help each other. Note that the sequence of 彼此互相 should not be reversed.

What I understand as a native speaker is that,

互相 focuses on the relationship between 2 or more objects,

彼此 focuses on the "both sides", 那个和这个, that and this.


彼此 is more like a noun when 互相 is more like an adverb in a sentence.

Including the example from SE12938683, terms below never use 互相 simply because 互相 cannot become things/objects.

不分彼此 (No difference between you and me/he/she.)
彼此之間 (In between A and B. 彼此 acts as a subject.)
彼此要相親相愛 (A and B should cherish and love each other. Here also starts as a subject, meaning you and he/her, or this and that.)


In my understanding, 彼此 focuses on the two parties, you and me, while 互相 focuses on the relationship and it's mutual.


They are not interchangeable in most cases. “彼此” is sort of literary and only used with persons.

Edit: “彼此之间” would be an exception, I used it for two items today...

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