The English language has one of the most extensive vocabularies in the world. As a result, there are many words in the English language, which have relatively similar but slightly different usages and meanings. The difference between ‘among’ and ‘between’ is an example of such tricky grammatical usage in the English language. The rule to differentiate these two words are the same for both American and British English.
Many people get confused to differentiate between these two words. However, both of these two words are prepositions. Both of these words are used to explain the relationship between objects and people or the area around them. You must know the difference to take your English learning skill to the next level.
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Use of Between and Among
Among is used when the elements are part of a large group, or they are not explicitly identified. On the opposite side, between is used when the elements are specific. After reading the below-mentioned examples, you will understand it well.
- A meeting is arranged between Kolkata, Odisha, and Jharkhand.
- A meeting is arranged among the states of India.
These two sentences bear different meanings. It is because there are other states in India as well. Here, is used when the elements are specific. But, among is used when the elements are not specific and part of a group. Another example mentioned below will help you to understand the difference clearly.
- I want to buy a shirt between the black shirt, the pink shirt, and the red shirt.
- I want to buy a shirt among these shirts.
Though these two sentences mean the same thing, there is a difference in them. In the first sentence, the shirts are specifically addressed. So, the use of between is accurate in this sentence. In the second sentence, shirts are not explicitly mentioned. Here, the use of among is appropriate.
Uses of Between
Between can be used in reference to two or more elements only when the elements are clear and separated. Between can not be used in reference to elements that are not clear and separate. There is a widespread belief that between can not be used in reference to more than two elements. But, this belief is not valid. The use of between is not restricted to the number of elements.
Uses of Among
Among can be used in reference to two or more elements when the elements are not clear and separated but part of a group. Among is not used in reference to elements that are clear and separate. There is a widespread belief that among can not be used in reference to two elements. But, this belief is not valid. The use of among is also not restricted to the number of elements.
Examples of Between
- I sat between Megha and Riya.
- She is the friendliest among my friends.
- The house is located between two banana trees.
- The house is located among trees.
- Let us keep the information between you and me.
- Let us keep the information among us.
- I want to choose between the English and Spanish language.
- I want to choose among the foreign languages.
- I want to buy between apple and mango.
- I want to buy among seasonal fruits.
In all these sentences, between is used when the elements are clear, separated, and part of a group. However, among is used when the elements are not clear and not part of a group.
This article will help you to get a clear idea about the difference between among and between. Though the meanings of both of these words are quite similar, their usage is different. You must understand this kind of slight difference in the English language to excel in the language.