Archive for February 9, 2011

adjective: mutual

The other day, I was explaining the meaning of the adjective “mutual” to some people, so I want to write about that in today’s blog.

We have two ways of using “mutual”. The first one is when we want to talk about having the same interest or person in our lives as another person. For example:

Bill and I have a mutual ancestor, so I guess we’re kind of like cousins.

Penny and I met through our mutual friend, Will. She met Will in university, and I met him when I started working at my company. He introduced us at a party.

Nathan and I have a lot of mutual interests. We both like skiing, cooking, science fiction and German beer.

The second way to use it is when we want to say that we feel the same way towards another person as they feel towards us. For example:

A: I really like you.

B: The feeling is mutual. I really like you too.

Oscar and I have mutual respect for one another.

I know that Jennifer hates me but, believe me, the feeling is mutual.

Please be careful not to mix up the two meanings of this word. For example, we CANNOT say, “Jennifer hates horror movies, and the feeling is mutual.” In this case, we have to say, “Jennifer hates horror movies, and so do I.” or “Jennifer and I have a mutual hatred of horror movies.” The second meaning of “mutual” is only when talking about how two people feel about each other.

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