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Department of English Grammar

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What’s up with “between” and “among”?

This is a tricky topic.

Let’s start with the easiest part:

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  • Between you and me, I am both taller and smarter.
  • John, please keep this secret just between us; no one else needs to know that I still wet the bed.

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So far, so good? Let’s now take a look at “among”:

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There is one more difference between “between" and "among”:

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(In case you’re wondering, among = amongst.)

It would be nice if we could end this post right here. Unfortunately, we would be remiss to not mention this one last point:

On standardized tests, especially the SAT, “between" is used for only TWO people or things; for THREE OR MORE people or things, you are expected to use “among.” No exceptions. This contradicts what we mentioned at the top of this post, but that’s how it is. Standardized tests are incredibly prescriptivist.

But that’s OK: as long as you know what they want, it makes your job easy. Right?

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How can I speak better English?

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English is not an easy language to master. But don’t give up!

To improve your spoken English, read and bookmark this excellent article by British English Coach.

It’s long, but it will be extremely helpful.

Here is a snapshot of what you can expect to find in the post:

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Good luck!

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(Tina Belcher GIF source: GIPHY)

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