# Between vs. Among: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on November 9, 2023
"Between" implies a relation involving two or distinct entities; "Among" indicates a more general, collective relation involving three or more.

## Key Differences

"Between" refers to reciprocal or individual relationships involving two items or distinct groups. "Among," however, involves connections in which entities are considered part of a larger whole or collective, typically three or more.
"Between" often denotes a clarity or distinction in the items involved, such as an agreement or comparison where individual elements are identifiable. "Among" suggests a less defined relationship, with elements being part of a collective or group.
"Between" can also convey the idea of choice or distinction, such as selecting between two clear options. "Among" represents a choice or action within a collective, where individual elements may not be as distinctly separated or identified.
"Between" is applicable in both physical and conceptual relations when addressing separate and distinct entities or groups. "Among," though, is used when entities are part of a group or multitude, not as separated or distinct.
"Between" maintains its specificity even when numbers exceed two, provided the entities remain distinct. "Among" inherently implies being part of a larger, indistinct group, irrespective of the number involved.

## Comparison Chart

### Number of entities

Two or more distinct
Three or more, not distinct

### Type of relationship

Direct, distinct
Collective, generalized

### Usage context

Choices, comparisons, individual entities
Groups, collectives, non-distinct entities

### Spatial relation

Specifies position in relation to two points
Implies being surrounded by or part of

### Clarity

Distinct entities
Indistinct, part of a whole

## Between and Among Definitions

#### Between

In the space separating two points
The park is between the library and the cafe.

#### Among

Surrounded by
The cabin is hidden among the trees.

#### Between

In the interval separating two points in time
She'll arrive between 3 and 4 PM.

#### Among

Included in a group
He was among the candidates considered.

#### Between

Indicating a connection
The secret was between the two of them.

#### Among

In the presence of many
Her voice was lost among the crowd.

#### Between

Connecting distinct groups
Negotiations between the companies were successful.

#### Among

Sharing with a group
The tasks were divided among the team members.

#### Between

In or through the position or interval separating
Between the trees.
Between 11 o'clock and 12 o'clock.

#### Among

Being a part of a group
She felt at home among friends.

#### Between

Intermediate to, as in quantity, amount, or degree
It costs between 15 and 20 dollars.

#### Among

In the midst of; surrounded by
A pine tree among cedars.

#### Between

Connecting spatially
A railroad between the two cities.

#### Among

In the group, number, or class of
She is among the wealthy.

#### Between

Associating or uniting in a reciprocal action or relationship
An agreement between workers and management.
A certain resemblance between the two stories.

#### Among

In the company of; in association with
Traveling among a group of tourists.

#### Between

In confidence restricted to
Between you and me, he is not qualified.

#### Among

By many or the entire number of; with many
A custom popular among the Greeks.

#### Between

By the combined effort or effect of
Between them they succeeded.

#### Among

By the joint action of
Among us, we will finish the job.

#### Between

In the combined ownership of
They had only a few dollars between them.

#### Among

With portions to each of
Distribute this among you.

#### Between

As measured against. Often used to express a reciprocal relationship
Choose between riding and walking.

#### Among

With or against one another
Don't fight among yourselves. See Usage Note at between.

#### Between

In an intermediate space, position, or time; in the interim.

#### Among

Denotes a mingling or intermixing with distinct or separable objects. (See Usage Note at amidst.)
How can you speak with authority about their customs when you have never lived among them?

#### Between

In the position or interval that separates (two things), or intermediate in quantity or degree. (See Usage notes below.)
John stood between Amy and Mary.
Let's meet between two and three.
I want to buy one that costs somewhere between forty and fifty dollars.

#### Among

Denotes a belonging of a person or a thing to a group.
He is among the few who completely understand the subject.

#### Between

Done together or reciprocally.
Conversation between friends

#### Among

Denotes a sharing of a common feature in a group.
Lactose intolerance is common among people of Asian heritage.

#### Between

Shared in confidence.
Between you and me, I think the boss is crazy.
Let's keep this between ourselves.

#### Among

Mixed or mingled; surrounded by.
They heard,And from his presence hid themselves amongThe thickest trees.

#### Between

In transit from (one to the other, or connecting places).
He's between jobs right now.
The shuttle runs between the town and the airport.

#### Among

Conjoined, or associated with, or making part of the number of; in the number or class of.
Blessed art thou among women.

#### Between

Combined (by effort or ownership).
Between us all, we shall succeed.
We've only got £5 between us.

#### Among

Expressing a relation of dispersion, distribution, etc.; also, a relation of reciprocal action.
What news among the merchants?
Human sacrifices were practiced among them.
Divide that gold amongst you.
Whether they quarreled among themselves, or with their neighbors.

#### Between

One of (representing a choice).
You must choose between him and me.
Some colour-blind people can't distinguish between red and green.

#### Between

Taking together the combined effect of.
Between the food and the card games, this proved to be the best birthday party I have ever had.

#### Between

A kind of needle, shorter than a sharp, with a small rounded eye, used for making fine stitches on heavy fabrics.

#### Between

In the space which separates; betwixt; as, New York is between Boston and Philadelphia.

#### Between

Used in expressing motion from one body or place to another; from one to another of two.
If things should go so between them.

#### Between

Belonging in common to two; shared by both.
Castor and Pollux with only one soul between them.

#### Between

Belonging to, or participated in by, two, and involving reciprocal action or affecting their mutual relation; as, opposition between science and religion.
An intestine struggle, open or secret, between authority and liberty.

#### Between

With relation to two, as involved in an act or attribute of which another is the agent or subject; as, to judge between or to choose between courses; to distinguish between you and me; to mediate between nations.

#### Between

In intermediate relation to, in respect to time, quantity, or degree; as, between nine and ten o'clock.
I . . . hope that between public business, improving studies, and domestic pleasures, neither melancholy nor caprice will find any place for entrance.

#### Between

Intermediate time or space; interval.

#### Between

In the interval;
Dancing all the dances with little rest between

#### Between

In between;
Two houses with a tree between

#### Between

Comparing distinct entities
I'm torn between the two options.

## FAQs

#### Does "among" imply being part of a group?

Yes, it indicates inclusion in a collective.

#### Is "between" used for distinct choices?

Yes, it's used when distinguishing between clear, separate options.

#### Can "between" denote location?

Yes, when specifying position relative to two distinct points.

#### What's "hidden among" mean?

It suggests being concealed within a group or multitude.

#### Is "between" for direct relationships?

Yes, it's for connections involving distinct entities.

#### How does "between" work in negotiations?

It denotes reciprocal dealings involving two distinct parties.

#### Is "among" suitable for two items?

Typically, no. "Among" implies three or more non-distinct items.

#### Can "between" refer to time?

Yes, indicating a period spanning two points in time.

#### What does "divided among" imply?

It means distributed to each member within a group.

#### Can "between" refer to more than two things?

Yes, if the items are distinct or groups, "between" is applicable.

#### Is "between" precise in comparisons?

Yes, it compares distinct, identifiable items.

#### Does "among" imply vagueness?

It can suggest a less clear, more collective relationship.

#### Can "between" mean "shared by"?

Yes, when something is reciprocally shared by distinct parties.

#### What does "mingling among" mean?

It means interacting within a group.

#### Can "among" suggest an undefined relationship?

Yes, it implies a less distinct, more generalized connection.

#### Is "among" used in selections?

It's used when choosing from within a group, not distinct items.

#### Is "among" collective?

Yes, it pertains to being part of a larger whole or group.

#### Can "between" involve separate groups?

Yes, if the groups are distinct from each other.

#### Does "between" work with distinct entities?

Yes, it's specific to clearly separate entities or groups.

#### Does "among" mean "within"?

In some contexts, it can imply being "within" a group or collective.