Tag Archive - Mutual vs. Reciprocal

We Have Mutual, Common, and Reciprocal Interests

What we have in common, we share mutually. Some purists argue that mutual means something experienced or expressed by two people about each other, and so it is wrong to speak of something such as “our mutual enemy.” Their argument is that if you and I have an enemy in common, that adds up to a total of three people, and three is not two.

In the same manner, some believe  it’s incorrect to refer to more than two people as making an agreement to their mutual benefit.  The correct word, they say, is common (which I used as an example above).

However, not all of us are purists, and as word usage changes in society, those purists lose ground. Not many editors or grammarians are going to scream “violation!” if you use mutual for three or more people or things. Continue Reading…