Between vs. Among: What’s the Difference? - Writing Explained
Hello, there! Which preposition do you think is the good one in this sentence: 1. " social relations between people" 2. "social relations among. Yes, sometimes you do (and must) use between for more than two things alone. In these places, you cannot swap in among, or it will sound. Use between when referring to one-to-one relationships. Use among when referring to indistinct or nonspecific relationships.
Not many writers or communications professionals can give you a straight answer. I will cover their definitions, their functions in a sentence, and provide you with a number of examples using each.
word choice - “between” vs. “among” - English Language & Usage Stack Exchange
Then, at the end, you can test yourself to see if you fully understand. The Traditional Rule The traditional rule regarding these two words states that between introduces two items while among introduces more than two items. The race is now between Jenny and Jill. The funds were divided among Steve, Carter, and Smitty.Elastic Constants and Relation Among all Elastic Constants
In other words, we use between when talking about a relationship of a person or thing with regard to other people or things separately and distinctly.
Can we keep this between you and me? You can use between for more than two objects if this same one-to-one relationship between distinct units is understood from the context. For example, There is now more interstate trade between Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. A new trade agreement was reached between Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
relations among/between people
Between can also be used to refer to more than two things when items are considered one pair at a time. Discussions are under way between the corporate board and the Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas economic planning committees.
In this example, the board is considered one entity, and each state committee is interacting with the board individually. So, although four groups are being discussed, they are really three distinct pairs interacting with each other.
If we reorganize the sentence, you can see this more clearly. Discussions are under way between the corporate board and Texas, between the corporate board and Oklahoma, and between the corporate board and Kansas.
The bottom line is you can use between when talking about distinct, individual items that have a one-to-one relationship—even if there are more than two. When to Use Among Among is used to refer to undefined or collective relationships—things that are not distinct or individual. Keeping peace among neighboring regions is an imperative.
In the citations below, this non-rule your friend alludes to is variously called a persistent but unfounded notion, a superstition slow to die, and prescriptivist poppycock. Safire answers — and at length — a correspondent who encountered much the same quandary as you did. Safire then goes on to try to discover who was first responsible for this nonsense.
Who laid this guilt on Ms. He did notice, however, that not everybody was as fastidious as him or, as he would say, as he: This is called the etymological fallacy. It is never sound reasoning: Fowler calls this notion that one must always use between for two and never more than that a superstition that dies hard. Not long after Johnson, Noah Webster wrote in his dictionary of that between is not restricted to two, and the current entry for between in Merriam-Webster further expands upon this rebuttal: There is a persistent but unfounded notion that between can be used only of two items and that among must be used for more than two.
The real difference between “between” and “among” | Motivated Grammar
Between has been used of more than two since Old English; it is especially appropriate to denote a one-to-one relationship, regardless of the number of items. One of its Middle English citations quite specifically writes Betweyn us thre — that is, between us three. And three is without question greater than two.
In the second edition of the OED, this statement is made: In all senses, between has been, from its earliest appearance, extended to more than two.
It is still the only word available to express the relation of a thing to many surrounding things severally and individually, among expressing a relation to them collectively and vaguely: In the various citations the OED provides to document historical uses of between applied to more than two items the earliest is fromthese two stand out most ironically, since they are allegedly by the same author contradicting himself: So if Boswell is correctly quoting Johnsonthen Johnson seems to have failed to take his own advice regarding propriety and accuracy.