Has there ever been a time when you found yourself confused while choosing between 'between' and 'among'? Maybe during an important meeting or while writing a work email, you've paused, unsure about which one is correct. You're not alone. Many non-native English speakers find the between vs among confusion rather challenging.

This article aims to clear your doubts and guide you through the accurate usage of 'between' and 'among'. We understand that mastering such differences can be tricky, but with the right guidance and practice, it's entirely possible.

In this blog, we'll provide plenty of between vs among examples, practical tips to remember their usage, exercises for practice, and resources for further learning. Our goal is to ensure that by the end of this read, you'll confidently use 'between' and 'among' in your everyday communication.

Understanding the Basics: Between vs Among

Let's start by understanding the basics of between vs among differences.

'Between' is used when referring to one-to-one relationships or two or more distinctly separate items. You might say, "Ravi divided the sweets between Priya and Karan." Here, it's evident that Ravi is distributing sweets to two specific individuals, representing a direct relationship. You may also say, "There is an intense cricket rivalry between India, Pakistan, and Australia." In this example, though there are three entities, they are distinct.

Though 'between' is often associated with just two items, it isn't limited to them. Consider this: "The agreement was reached between the employees." Here, you're indicating a mutual arrangement involving individual employees.

On the other hand, we use 'among' when discussing indistinct or nonspecific items in a group or collective. For example, "There was a sense of excitement among the fans at the stadium." This sentence gives a sense of collective emotion. Hence, 'among' is more appropriate here.

When to Use Between vs Among?

To remember the distinction between the usage of the 'between' and 'among', remember these simple rules:

  1. Identify if you’re referring to individuals or groups.

  2. Determine if you need to emphasize distinct relationships.

  3. Use ‘between’ for individuals and distinct relations; and ‘among’ for groups and collective references.

Look at this table that summarises the usage rules with examples:

Words

Usages

Examples

Between

One-to-one relationships

"The conversation between the teacher and the student was intense."


Separate items

"There is a clear boundary between the two countries."

Among

Collective or group

"The secret was shared among the members of the team."


Indistinct or nonspecific items

"The solution lies among the various possibilities."

In competitive exams like the GMAT, between vs among usually appears as a common question to test your English language proficiency. Remember that mastering these differences not only makes your spoken English more effective but also helps in such exams. Practice using 'between' and 'among' in daily conversations.

Common Mistakes & Tips to Avoid Them

Despite understanding the basic differences between 'between' and 'among', several learners often find their application difficult. Here are some common mistakes with these words and tips to avoid them:

  • Using 'between' only for two items. Yes, 'between' is used when talking about distinct, individual items even if they are more than two. So it's fine to say, "A treaty was signed between India, Bhutan and Nepal".

  • Using 'among' when referring to something specific. Remember, 'among' conveys a sense of being part of a group or collective, not for specific items.

You can find more such tips in the Clapingo guide on 100 Short Conversational English Tips for Beginners. Remember, becoming adept at using 'between' and 'among' requires practice. Regularly revising the rules can help you avoid these common slip-ups.

Practice Makes Perfect: Exercises to Test Yourself

Let's put what you've learned about the difference between 'between' and 'among' into practice. Here are some fill-in-the-blanks exercises for you:

1. I couldn't decide _________ the red, black, and white shirts.

2. The secret was shared _________ the three best friends.

3. The book was hidden ____ the pile of newspapers.

4. He distributed the sweets _________ his classmates.

5. There is a long-standing dispute _________ the two neighbouring countries.

Have you marked your answers? Now check whether they are correct using the answer table given below:

1

between

2

among

3

among

4

among

5

between

Remember, regular practice is key to mastering these prepositions effortlessly!

How Can Clapingo Help?

Sometimes, language learning calls for individual attention you don’t always get in traditional classroom settings. This is where online platforms like Clapingo can bridge the gap. With personalized coaching sessions, Clapingo tackles common challenges such as the difference between confusing words like 'between' and 'among'.

Clapingo's expert tutors understand the complexities of the language and are ready to help you enhance your vocabulary, pronunciation, and sentence structure. They offer customized strategies that will help you differentiate similar words easily. By practising with a tutor in a live one-on-one class, you can gain a real-time understanding of English grammar rules and their application.

Clapingo’s flexible scheduling allows you to learn at your own pace, making sure you thoroughly understand each lesson before proceeding to the next. Booking a trial with Clapingo is also simple; just follow this video tutorial for step-by-step instructions: How to book a trial on Clapingo:

Parting Thoughts

We hope this journey has been enlightening for you. With a clearer understanding of the usage of 'between' vs 'among', you are one step closer to mastering English communication. Always remember that ‘between’ denotes one-to-one relationships, and ‘among’ signifies collective or undefined relations. With Clapingo's personalised sessions, refining your grasp of these prepositions becomes simpler. Remember, every step you take in learning English is a stride towards growing personally and professionally. So keep learning and keep growing!

FAQs

1. Can 'between' be used for 3 things?

Yes, 'between' can indeed be used when referring to more than two entities, but only when they are distinct and individually considered. For instance, "The treaty was negotiated between India, Pakistan, and China."

2. What is an example of "among" and "between"?

For "between", you could say: "The agreement was made between the two companies." For "among", consider this sentence: "She felt comfortable among her colleagues."

3. Is it 'among us' or 'between us'?

Both can be correct depending on the context. When you speak of something shared in a group like a secret or feeling, use 'among'. Example: "I feel a sense of friendship among us." For specific one-to-one relationships within a group, use 'between'. Example: "The secret must stay between us."

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