Confusing Words

Among Vs Between

A lot of people think that it is okay to use among and between in place of each other whenever possible. However, that is not true. Among vs between is a common confusion which arises but we are here to clear it. This article will make sure you get to understand their differences to use them correctly in the future. Both the terms are prepositions and we use them to refer to the relationship between people and objects, and the space or area around them. While they may seem similar, they are not exactly the same. Thus, we will study in detail about it.

The thing is that one can make use of the word between when they are talking about distinct individual items even if there are more than two of them. For instance, when you say ‘He has to choose between Delhi University, Lucknow University and Mumbai University.’ The colleges are an individual thing so you use between. Further, when there are more than two things around, you must make use of the word among. Let us learn further about the difference between among vs between and their uses.

among vs between

Difference between Among Vs Between

We can make use of both between and among when we are talking about sharing or dividing things. When you talk about dividing things between two people, make sure to use the term between.

However, when you talk about dividing things between more than two people, you can choose either of the two, between and among. For instance, my teacher divided the responsibilities between my best friend and me. Thus, there are two people, so use between.

My sister divided the cake between/among all of the family members. As all family members are getting the cake, you can any of the terms, they will be correct. Further, we use the term between when distinct, individual items are named. Alternatively, we use among when the items in question have not been named.

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When/How to Use Among

We use among when we talk about people or things which are not distinct and we view them as a group. For instance, there wasn’t much unity among the group members. Further, among could also indicate that something belongs to a group.

For example, he only felt happy when he was among his friends. Moreover, we also use the word ‘among’ to refer to spatial relationships. It tells us that something is surrounded by something else. Like when you say, I always wanted to go swimming among dolphins.

Let us take a look at the incorrect and correct use of among vs between:

Incorrect: Neha is trying to decide between three different types of ice cream.

Correct: Neha is trying to decide among three different types of ice cream.

When/How to Use Between

One can make use of between when there are more than two elements involved. Further, you can also use between for any number of elements as long as all of them are separate and distinct.

For instance, she had to choose between a Barbie, a doctor set, a pair of shoes and a new lunchbox for her birthday present. We can also use the word between when we describe spatial relationships.

Between generally means in the middle of something or in the space-restricted by something. For instance, she drove too quickly between cars. Let us take a look at the incorrect and correct use of among vs between:

Incorrect: In my last book I wrote about the difference among graphic designing and web designing.

Correct: In my last book I wrote about the difference between graphic designing and web designing.

Examples of Among – Using Among in a Sentence

To understand the use of this term, it is important to go through some examples. This will help in learning their correct use:

  • My hamster likes to hide among the many shoes at the bottom of the coat closet.
  • A 90-year old man was among the ten prizewinners.
  • Among the many people to dance at the concert were my brother and his friend Ted.
  • Kenneth’s laptop is on the desk among books, magazines, bills and a cup of tea.
  • Among all the dancers in the competition, the only one to get a standing ovation was Jenny.

Examples of Between – Using Between in a Sentence

We have compiled a list of examples using the word between in sentences. Go through them to understand the use of this term in the correct manner so you don’t get confused in the future:

  • You can see Linda sitting between her friends Oliver and Zara.
  • Make sure to leave at least 2 meters between your car and the car in front of you.
  • Between you and me, Ian is not very good at baseball.
  • You can see the enormous differences between the two brothers.
  • My keys are kept on the table, between the newspaper and the pen stand.
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