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, take the two sentences “you have the choice between Dell and HP computers” and “I noticed Jane among her friends in the cinema.” In the first example, only two objects are involved whereas, in the second example, a group of people are involved. In fact, the difference mentioned above is the most common grammatical understanding when it comes to the purpose of these two prepositions, between and among. In addition, though between is a term that is primarily used as a preposition there are times when between is also used as an adverb.
What does Between mean?
As said above, the preposition between is used in the case of choices involving two objects or persons. However, this 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. Observe the following sentences.
The similarities between French, Italian and Latin are obvious.
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.
Note: Always remember that in Standard English it is wrong to say between you and I. The correct form is between you and me. The reason for this is that a preposition like between should be followed by an object pronoun such as her, me, etc. Between followed by a subject pronoun is not correct. Therefore, if you say between we (using a subject pronoun) that is wrong. If you say between us (using an object pronoun) that is correct.
What does Among mean?
Preposition among, which has its origins in the Old English, is used in the case of choices involving more than two objects or persons. You can also say that 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 a collective sense and has to be construed not as a distinct individual thing.
What is the difference between Among and Between?
• 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.
• In addition to the above difference, the preposition between can be used in the case of choices involving distinct individual things or places. look at the sentence given below.
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.
• The preposition among can be used when the choices are considered as a mass or collectivity.
Also read, Difference Between Among and Amongst