Between vs Among: Difference and Comparison

“Between” refers to two distinct or separate items or groups, whereas “among” refers to three or more items or groups in a collective or indistinct sense.

Key Takeaways

  1. Between is used when referring to two things that are distinct and separate.
  2. Among refers to three or more items in a group or collective.
  3. Between implies a sense of separation, while among means a sense of inclusion.

Between vs Among

Among is used when talking about people or things that are not distinct but viewed as a group, the word between should be used for two items or even more till they are separate and distinct. Examples: “the agreement was signed between Ram and Shyam”, and “the old temple was hidden among the trees.”

Between vs Among

Comparison Table

FeatureBetweenAmong
Number of things referred toTwoMore than two
Relationship between thingsDistinct and separatePart of a group or whole
Example usageBetween the two brothers, there was a strong bond.Among the flowers, the rose stood out.
Prepositional phrase usageOften used with “between”Often used with “among”
Time usageCan be used to refer to a period of timeNot commonly used to refer to time
Number usageCan be used to refer to a range of numbersNot commonly used to refer to numbers
Formal vs. InformalBoth are considered formal“Among” is sometimes considered more formal than “between”

When to Use “Between”?

The word “between” should be used when referring to two separate and distinct entities, emphasizing their relationship. Here are some key points to remember:

Use “between” when:

  • There are only two entities involved: “There was a strong bond between the two brothers.”
  • The entities are separate and distinct: “The book was placed between the two vases.”
  • Describing a relationship or interaction between two entities: “The competition between the two teams was fierce.”
  • Referring to a period of time: “He lived in Paris between 1990 and 2000.”
  • Indicating a range of numbers: “The temperature was between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius.”
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Here are some examples of how to use “between” correctly:

  • The children shared their toys between them.
  • The meeting took place between the CEO and the board of directors.
  • There is a thin line between love and hate.
  • The train will be arriving at the station between 10:00 and 10:15 am.
  • The temperature fluctuated between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit all day.

Here are some situations where “between” would be incorrect:

  • The thief was hiding between the trees. (There are more than two trees.)
  • She felt lonely between the crowd. (There are many people in the crowd, not just two.)
  • He was popular between his classmates. (He was popular among his classmates.)
between

When to Use “Among”?

The word “among” should be used when referring to more than two entities considered part of a larger group or whole. It emphasizes the relationship between the individual entities and the group as a whole. Here are some key points to remember:

Use “among” when:

  • There are more than two entities involved: “The thief was hiding among the trees.”
  • The entities are part of a larger group: “She felt lonely among the crowd.”
  • Describing the relationship between individual members within a group: “There was a strong sense of camaraderie among the team members.”
  • Referring to a location within a larger area: “The house was located among the rolling hills.”
  • Indicating distribution or division within a group: “The prize money was divided among the winners.”

Here are some examples of how to use “among” correctly:

  • The children were playing among the fallen leaves.
  • He was the only one who spoke out among the crowd.
  • There is a lot of diversity among the students in this school.
  • The search party ventured deeper among the trees.
  • The teacher distributed the candy among the students.

Here are some situations where “among” would be incorrect:

  • The debate among the two candidates was heated. (This should be “between” as there are only two candidates.)
  • The book was placed among the two vases. (This should be “between” as only two vases exist.)
  • There is a thin line among love and hate. (This should be “between” as it describes a relationship between two things.)
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among

Main Differences Between “Between” and “Among

  1. Number of Entities:
    • Between: “Between” refers to a relationship or interaction involving two distinct entities or groups.
    • Among: “Among” refers to a relationship or interaction involving three or more entities or groups, in a collective or indistinct sense.
  2. Precision:
    • Between: “Between” is used to indicate a clear and specific distinction or separation among the entities or groups involved.
    • Among: “Among” is used when the distinction or separation among the entities or groups is not necessarily clear, and they are considered together in a more general or collective manner.
  3. Usage with Singular and Plural Nouns:
    • Between: “Between” is used with both singular and plural nouns. For example, “between the two houses” (two houses) and “between the houses” (multiple houses).
    • Among: “Among” is used with plural nouns. For example, “among the students” (multiple students).
  4. Context and Meaning:
    • Between: “Between” implies a sense of exclusivity or comparison between two entities or groups, highlighting the differences or choices involved.
    • Among: “Among” suggests a sense of inclusion or interaction within a larger group, without specifying individual distinctions or preferences.
  5. Examples:
    • Between: “The decision is between chocolate and vanilla ice cream.” (Choosing one of the two options)
    • Among: “The discussion among the team members led to a consensus.” (Involving multiple team members)
Difference Between Between and Among
References
  1. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/between
  2. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/among

Last Updated : 11 December, 2023

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22 thoughts on “Between vs Among: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article is informative and well-written. I have learned a lot about the distinction between ‘between’ and ‘among’.

    Reply
  2. The article gives a concise and clear guide about the usage of ‘between’ and ‘among’. I appreciate the precision and accuracy of the explanation.

    Reply
  3. This article was very useful, but I have seen the word ‘among’ used in reference to two distinct individuals. Is that correct?

    Reply
  4. The article provides clear examples of when to use ‘between’ and ‘among’. I appreciate the effort put into this article.

    Reply
  5. I found the examples used in the article to be very helpful. They illustrate the usage of ‘between’ and ‘among’ perfectly.

    Reply
  6. The article is thorough in explaining the differences between ‘between’ and ‘among’. It’s a great reference guide.

    Reply
  7. I appreciate the examples given in the article. They make it easier to understand the correct usage of ‘between’ and ‘among’.

    Reply

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