Among vs Between
The most common difference between among and between is that the preposition ‘between’ is used in the case of choices involving two objects or persons whereas the preposition ‘among’ is used in the case of choices involving more than two objects or persons. For example: “the choice between Dell and HP computers”; “I noticed Jane among her friends in the cinema.” In fact the difference mentioned above is the most common grammatical understanding when it comes to the purport of these two prepositions.
The difference mentioned above may not come good at all times. According to grammarians, the preposition ‘between’ can be used in the case of choices involving distinct individual things or places for that matter. Take a look at this sentence, ‘He chose between Francis, Miller and Roger hospitals’. Here the person that is looking for admission into a hospital to get himself operated is choosing between three hospitals. ‘Hospital’ is the word that has to be taken as distinct individual thing.
On the other hand the preposition ‘among’ can be used when the choices are considered as a mass or collectivity. Look at this sentence for example, ‘The issue caused a sensation among people’. Here the word ‘people’ is used in the collective sense and has to be construed not as a distinct individual thing.
Observe the sentences, ‘the similarities between French, Italian and Latin are obvious’ and ‘it is between you and me’. In the first sentence the languages French, Italian and Latin are distinct individual languages. In the second sentence the words ‘you’ and ‘me’ are distinct individual persons.
Look at the sentence “The helicopter crashed between the houses.” In this the houses are seen as distinct buildings, so that it is presumed that none of the individual houses was hit. In case if the sentence is “The helicopter crashed among the houses,” the area of impact is considered to be the general location of the houses, taken together, in which case it creates a doubt in your mind whether any houses were hit.
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