This post starts with the most common use of the two prepositions, followed by other usages. Comments are in square brackets in blue font so that you can easily spot them. And the post ends in a quiz for you to test yourself.
Let’s start with the most common use of the two prepositions.
1. The most common use of Between and Among
|Between is used to refer two or more elements when we treat them as individuals (in other words, elements are clearly separated).|
Contrary to popular belief, its use is not restricted only to situations with two persons or things.
|Among is used to refer elements when we treat them as part of a group or mass, and not as individuals (in other words, elements are not clearly separated).|
Contrary to popular belief, its use is not restricted only to situations with more than two persons or things.
|I sat between Amy and John. [Two individuals here]||Among my friends, he is the friendliest. [Group of friends, and not any individual friend]|
|The resort was located between two banyan trees. [Two distinct things here]||We drove past the resort but couldn’t locate it, because it was hidden among trees. [The reference is not to individual trees, but to a group of trees]|
|Let’s keep this information between you and me.||Let’s keep this information among us.|
|India is situated between Nepal and Bhutan to the north, Pakistan to the West, Bangladesh and Myanmar to the East, and Sri Lanka to the South. [Between, and not among, has been used, because the four elements have been treated individually… and not as a group]||I finally found my phone among the clutter of books and clothes in my closet. [Here we’re not saying that the phone was found between two separate piles – one of book and the other of clothes. We’re saying that the phone was found in a mass of clutter comprising of books and clothes]|
|I’ve to choose between MIT, UCLA, CMU, and Yale for my undergrad college. [Four distinct options]||MIT stands out for me among so many options for engineering.|
|I don’t want to choose between the dresses. [Here you compare dresses one-to-one (implies distinct) before you select one]||None among my dresses is red. [Here you don’t see a single red color in a mass of dresses]|
|Do you see any difference between fresh mangoes and yesterday’s stock? [Two distinct groups]||Can you spot bad ones among the mangoes?|
2. Other use of Between
We use between to connect times and numbers:
Fill in the blanks with the preposition between or among.
1. There was disagreement ___ Mark, Graham, and Mary.
2. While leaving the temple, I looked for my shoes ___ many others on the rack.
3. I could hardly find any electric car ___ the cars in the parking.
4. This strain of virus is commonly found ___ fruit bats.
5. Our car broke down ___ NH 24 ___ Bareilly and Faridpur.
6. There was no one from Australia ___ 30+ students in my class.
7. What’s the difference ___ drive volley, half volley, and normal volley in tennis?
8. He walked into the room and stood ___ the chair and the desk.
9. Only you, Neeraj, Abhay, and Neha remain after the first round of interview. You need to be the best ___ them to get the job.
10. The four thieves argued endlessly on how to divide the loot ___ them.
1. between 2. among 3. among 4. among 5. on, between 6. among 7. between 8. between 9. among 10. between