Between vs Among | Know the difference between 'Between' and 'Among'

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Between vs Among: What's the Difference?

Between and Among are prepositions. In general, the preposition 'Between' is used when talking about two people or things or places and the preposition 'Among' is used when we talk about more than two people or things or places.

Now, let's use these two commonly confused prepositions in different sentences:

1) Tom is standing between John and Jack. (Here Tom is standing between two boys.)

2) Our village is located between the mountains and the sea.

3) There was a man standing between the river and the mountains.

4) Tom is standing among the girls. (Here the number of girls is more than two. Tom is surrounded by girls.)
You can say:
Tom is standing between two girls.

5) There is a temple among the trees.

6) Money was distributed between me and my brother.

7) My parents lived in London between 2002 and 2012.

8) John was reading newspapers between 8am and 9:30am.


The above-mentioned general rule is not always true. There are some considerations that you must have to keep in mind:

[It's not always true that we should use the preposition 'Between' when there are two things or elements and 'Among' when there are more than two things or elements. You can also use the preposition 'Between' when there are more than two  separate or distinct elements or things involved]

A) 'Between' is also used to refer to more than two people or things (When talking about more than two people or things) which are considered as separate, distinct, specific or individual (Here the things are clearly separated).

For Example,

1) The peace treaties between America, China, and Russia are signed today. [Here the countries are specific.]

2) There is a football match between India, New Zealand and Australia. [Here the countries are specific and all three countries can't participate in a match at the same time. Only two countries can participate in a match at a time.]

3) The upcoming football match would be played between twelve teams. [Here we are talking about twelve teams and each team is separate and distinct.]

4) The property should be divided between Tom, John, Jack and George.

* You can use 'Between' when there are multiple paired relationships in a group (When "Multiple one-to-one relationships are understood from the context.") 

For Example,

1) Negotiations between the neighbouring countries are going well. [Here the negotiation with one another is going well]

You can also say:
Negotiation between these two neighbouring countries is going well.

B)The preposition 'Among' is used when we talk about people or things which are not clearly separated (Here the people or things are not distinct, they are considered as a group):

For Examples,

1) The recent trade agreements among European countries are going well. [Countries are not specified here, there are many countries in Europe.]

2) There is a cricket match among the Asian countries.

3) The sweets should be distributed among the children.

4) Money was distributed among poor people.

5) Money was distributed among me, my sisters and my brothers.

6) I have found a crime storybook among his old books.

7) Don't worry, you are among the good friends.

8) There should be a good understanding among the council members.

9) There was a misunderstanding among the team members.

* We should use 'Between' when referring to two or more things which are separate, distinct or have specific relationships.

* We should use 'Among' when referring to more than two people which are not separate (They are indistinct and have no specific relationships. They are part of a group.)

Important Notes:

* There are certain words (Nouns and Verbs) which are followed by the preposition 'between' only. They are not followed by 'Among':

The following words are followed by 'Between':

Distinguish, Divide, Differentiate, Connection, Link, Relationship, Distinction, etc.

Look at the following sentences to understand this better:

1) There is no connection between all the incidents.

2) Is there any difference between the brothers?

3) This is the difference between You, me and her.

4) The property would be divided between his two/four sons.

5) Distinguish between diamond, gold and silver.

6) There is a deep relationship between George and Mary.

7) There is no distinction between John and his brothers.

* If the location of someone or something is specific: We should use 'Between':

For Example,

1) Bhutan lies between India and China.
2) Bangladesh lies between India, Myanmar and the Bay of Bengal.

If the location is not specific: We should use 'Among':

For Example,

1) Bhutan lies among big countries. 
2) I am standing among trees.

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