BETWEEN vs AMONG

What's the difference?

BETWEEN

USAGE:

GENERAL RULE: We use between, when we are talking about:

1. TWO OF SOMETHING (two people, two animals, two items)
The bill was split between Emily and Jane.
Between you and me, I think Luke should buy his own flat.

2. INDIVIDUAL RELATIONSHIPS: Sometimes between is used with more than two things.
I must choose between U of T, UBC, and McMaster University. = Here we are talking about
individual relationships between me and U of T, me and UBC, and myself and McMaster University.
There was an agreement between members of the Canadian jury, the American jury and the Australian jury. = Here we are talking about individual/one-to-one relationship: an agreement
between the Canadian jury and the American jury; the Canadian jury and the Australian jury; and the American jury and the Australian jury.
There is a trade agreement between Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria. = we are talking about a trade agreement between Slovakia (a distinct country) and the Czech Republic (a specified individual country); Slovakia and Austria; and the Czech Republic and Austria.

3. DIFFERENCE: If you have the word difference in the sentence, use between.
There is a difference between the Scottish, the Irish, and the British accent.
There is a difference between rock music, punk rock, and heavy metal.

4. DEFINED LOCATION: When we talk about physical location, we often use between or among. If the location/path/point is defined/specific, use between.
Slovakia lies between Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ukraine, and Poland.
I ran between the trees and the playground. = a defined path.etwwe

among

USAGE:

1. GENERAL RULE: We use among, when we are talking about three or more items. Among the books, I saw an old photo of my parents.
I walked among the flowers.

2. GROUP/MASS NOUNS: Among is used when we’re talking about groups. The group is
general and there aren’t specified members (an undefined group).
I must choose among universities in Canada. = Here we are talking about universities as
a whole, not specific universities.
There was an agreement among all jury members. = we are talking about members as a whole group.
Trade agreements exist among countries. = we aren’t talking about distinct countries, but about countries as a whole, as a group.

3. DISTRIBUTE: If you have the word distribute in the sentence, use among.
The tips were distributed among the waitresses.

4. NO DEFINED LOCATION: If the location/path/point is not defined or specific, use among.
I got lost among the trees.
I found my earing among the flowers.

5. INCLUDED IN: Among those in the audience was The Queen. Among = included in, be a part of.

6. ONE OF: Colosseum is among the seven wonders of the world. Among = one of (Colosseum is one of the seven wonders of the world.)

1. Test your understanding of BETWEEN and AMONG with this English quiz. Choose the correct option.

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Steve Jobs

STEVE JOBS

February 12, 2021

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