Among vs. Between | Difference, Examples & Quiz

Among and between are two prepositions that are sometimes used interchangeably, but they have different meanings.

  • Among means “surrounded by” or “in the company of.” It’s normally followed by a plural noun.
  • Between refers to the space that separates two or more distinct things or to the interval that separates two or more distinct times. It’s normally followed by a series of two or more singular nouns.
    Examples: Among in a sentence Examples: Between in a sentence
    The thief hid among the wandering tourists. The coffee shop is between the post office and the bank.
    Alicia is happy when she’s among friends. Paul works between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day.

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    What does among mean?

    Among is a preposition meaning “in the company of” or “surrounded by.” It’s usually followed by a plural noun.

    Examples: How to use among
    Aria spends most of her time among other artists.

    The cat is hiding among the bushes.

    It can also be used to mean “in or through a group.”

    Examples: Other uses of among
    The news spread quickly among the people of the town.

    Lack of sleep is a common problem among teenagers.

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    Among other things

    Among other things is an expression meaning “in addition to things that are specifically mentioned.” It’s always set off by commas.

    Example: Among other things in a sentence
    The study found, among other things, that nasal breathing may lower blood pressure.

    What does between mean?

    Between is a preposition used to refer to the space that separates two or more distinct people or things. It’s also used to connect numbers or to refer to the interval separating two times or dates. It’s normally used in combination with the conjunction “and.”

    Examples: How to use between
    The child is sitting between his parents.

    Between 2019 and 2021, Jonah lived in Canada.

    Think of a number between 1 and 10.

    Between is also used to indicate a connection or conflict or to make a comparison.

    Examples: Other uses of between
    There are strong links between exercise and health.

    You can choose between a new car and a holiday!

    There’s an ongoing dispute between labor and management.

    Between for two things, among for more?

    Some sources suggest that “between” should only be used to refer to two people or things, while “among” should be used to refer to three or more people or things. However, this is not quite right.

    Between does place emphasis on individual relationships rather than groups, but it can still be used to refer to more than two people or things, as long as they are distinct (e.g., “Eva divides her time between work, friends, and family”).

    Among should be used instead when stating that something or someone is part of a group, without focusing on individual members (e.g., “among the upper classes,” not “between the upper classes”).

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    Worksheet: Between vs. among

    You can test your understanding of the difference between “between” and “among” with the worksheet below. Fill in either “between” or “among” in each sentence.

    1. I’ll be at the office _______ 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.
    2. There are some flowers _______ the weeds.
    3. There’s a door _______ the kitchen and the living room.
    4. You should know the difference _______ right and wrong.
    5. The virus spread quickly _______ people living in cities.
    1. I’ll be at the office between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.
      • “Between” is a preposition that can be used to refer to the interval separating two times.
    1. There are some flowers among the weeds.
      • “Among” is a preposition used to mean “surrounded by.” It’s typically followed by a plural noun that refers to non-distinct people or things (in this case, “weeds”).
    1. There’s a door between the kitchen and the living room.
      • “Between” can be used to refer to the physical space separating two distinct people or things.
    1. You should know the difference between right and wrong.
      • “Between” is also used to indicate a connection or conflict or to make a comparison.
    1. The virus spread quickly among people living in cities.
      • “Among” can also be used to mean “in or through a group.”

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      Frequently asked questions

      What is a synonym of “among”?

      Some synonyms and near synonyms of among include:

      • Amid
      • In the company of
      • In the middle of
      • Surrounded by

      Immediately find new synonyms for “among’ with the paraphrasing tool.

      What is a synonym of “between”?

      Some synonyms and near synonyms of between include:

      • In the space separating
      • In the time separating

      Using the paraphrasing tool, look for other words that mean the same thing as “between.”

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      Ryan, E. (2023, February 28). Among vs. Between | Difference, Examples & Quiz. Scribbr. Retrieved May 14, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/commonly-confused-words/among-vs-between/

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      Eoghan Ryan

      Eoghan has a lot of experience with theses and dissertations at bachelor's, MA, and PhD level. He has taught university English courses, helping students to improve their research and writing.