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When to Use "Between" vs. "Among"

Learn when to use "between" vs. "among" from Gotham Writers' Workshop instructor Stephanie Paterik in this Howcast grammar video.

Transcript

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between the words "between" or "among" and if you can use them interchangeably or if you need to choose one? Well, the answer is that they are different and that you use them in a different sentences. As a rule of thumb, between is used when you are talking about 2 people, or 2 things. You use among if you're talking about more than 2 people or more than 2 things, and I like to remember this by thinking of 2 cliches, actually. We tend to not like cliches in writing but sometimes they tend to be good memory devices.

One is the phrase "Just between you and me." Well, "between" is correct here because we're taking about you and me, we're just 2 people so it's just between you and me. And that's just one way that you can remember that "between" is used for 2 people. On the other hand, we have a sentence like, "You are among friends." In this case, you might picture a large group of friends, more than 2. And that's why we use the word among to indicate that we're talking about a bigger group of people. So, again if you're wondering about the difference between "between" and "among," remember that between is used for 2 people and among is used for a larger group, more than 2 people.

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