Among vs. Between | Word Choice
  • 2-minute read
  • 28th September 2023

Among vs. Between | Word Choice

Among and between are both prepositions used to describe how objects, people, or things relate to one another. They’re often used interchangeably in everyday speech and informal writing. However, for complete precision, they should be used in slightly different contexts.

In this post, we’ll discuss among vs. between and, with practical example sentences, demonstrate how they’re different.

How to Use “Among”

The word among is a preposition that describes the position or relationship of something within a group or amid several items. In general, among is used to indicate that something is situated or exists within a collection, as opposed to being separate or distinct from it. For example:

The coin is hidden among the papers in the desk.

The ring is among the other jewelry in the jewelry box.

In the first example, the coin is part of a group of papers, and in the second example, the ring is somewhere within a pile of jewelry. The use of among indicates that neither object is separate from the larger group.

How to Use “Between”

The word between is a preposition used to describe how two things or people relate to one another. Use between to suggest a sense of separation or distinction. For example:

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I can’t decide between strawberry and pistachio ice cream.

She is torn between attending the concert and finishing her homework.

He had to choose between the blue car and the green one.

You can also use between to discuss the spatial positioning of two things:

The dog is sitting between the two cats.

Sit between your two friends so you can see the stage.

And to indicate intervals of time:

The meeting is scheduled between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

The train leaves somewhere between early morning and late afternoon.

Summary: Among vs. Between

In summary, between is used to indicate a relationship or state that involves the separation/distinction of two specific things. Among refers to something that is situated or exists within a larger context. For example:

My pen is lost among the stack of papers.
My pen is lost between the stack of papers.
You have to choose between the scooter and bicycle.
You have to choose among the scooter and bicycle.

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