Out of the following sentences, which one uses the words between or among correctly?
1. Among the three different color choices for the new baby’s nursery, which one you like best?
2. The contract dispute was to be settled between the teachers, the students, the principal and the mother.
3. We divided the cost of the bicycle between April Sunday, Ben Knight, Joan Parks, and that woman there.
4. My husband and I discussed the wedding date among ourselves until we finally decided to go off and elope without telling our friends and family.
Only the first sentence is correct! If you have a wrong answer, you must read on this article. If you have given a correct answer, you should keep reading it for getting more tips about using between or among!
Between or Among: What's the Difference?
Most people have learned the common rule that the word between is used with two items and the word among is used with three or more items, and while that rule is true, there is one thing that you should pay attention to in general: between applies to reciprocal arrangements (one person to another person,) and among applies to collective arrangements with all people involved. People use between to refer to two things which are clearly separated and use among to talk about three or more things which are not clearly separated because they are either a part of a group or crowd or a mass of objects. For example:
Our beach house is between the ocean and a very busy street.
Explanation: The ocean is on one side and the busy street is on the other.
The stray cat was hidden among the bushes.
Explanation: The cat is surrounded by bushes.
Between or Among: How to Use Them Correctly
The word between is commonly used when talking about a choice that involves two distinct words:
This marriage contract is signed between the bride and the groom.
When there are more than two entities involved or when the number of entities is unspecified, the word choice depends on what you want to say. Between should be used where the relationship is distinctly one-to-one:
The agreement was entered into between the priest, the nun, and the president.
The differences between high heels, ballet flats, and tennis shoes are significant.
The word among means surrounding, part of, or something that is included in something. It should be used where the properties are considered as a group, a mass or collectivity:
There is consensus among students that this approach be used more frequently.
The scandal caused a riot among people.
The word among can also indicate that someone is a part of a group:
Lucy was later found living among the residents in the commune.
The little girl felt like a butterfly among the beautiful flowers.
People sometimes may wonder the differences between among and amongst which have the same meaning. You should know amongst is very old form and is more commonly used in Britain than in the US. The word amongst is considered old school, sometimes even being considered pretentious by American English speakers. Maybe you may only find it in a fiction that is set in Great Britain or in an old time.
Is it truly safe to walk amongst the peasants without any protection, my lord?
Between or Among: Practices
In order to find out if you are proficient in the usage of the words between and among, take this quiz to see if you can give the right answer to when to use the two words correctly.
(a) Alcohol is becoming more and more popular _____ younger children.
(b) As talks stalled over an impasse _____ the Israel and Iran, discontent escalated _____ the residents.
(c) The differences _____ a cat and a dog are easily to see. Which one do you like?
Correct answers: (a) among (b) between, among (c) between