Between vs Among vs Amongst – What’s the difference?

The words between, among, and amongst are so close in meaning and structure that people often get confused about how to use them in a sentence. The word between is often substituted for the word among and the word among for the word between and similarly the word amongst is substituted for the word among. In this post, we shall discuss the basic differences among the words “between, among, and amongst“. So let’s start with the differences in their meanings and usages.

Between vs Among – Difference

Here is a very simple rule for using the words “Between” and “among” in a sentence. The word “Between” relates only two objects or persons from a group or a cluster whereas the word “Among” relates to more than two objects or persons. For example:

  1. An NGO distributed smart phones between the two of us.
  2. The visitor won the respect and confidence among the students.
  3. She put a red feather between the two pages of the book.
  4. John feels quite comfortable among his friends.
  5. The teacher equally divided the task between Tom and Jerry.
  6. A house among the trees looks beautiful.

Among vs Amongst – Difference

The words “Among” and Amongst” are prepositions and have the same meaning – “in the middle of something or somebody, surrounded by something or somebody”. They are variations of the same word and can be interchanged in both speech and writing. The word “Among” is most commonly used in both British and American English whereas the word “Amongst” is nowadays considered old-fashioned and is used exclusively in British English. Some people use “Amongst” only for literary or stylistic effects.

We can use either of the two without any distinction in our speech and writing. The choice is yours. Both are grammatically correct and globally acceptable in British and American English.

Some old English Grammarians say that the most appropriate use of the word “Amongst” is before a vowel but the modern English grammarians do not agree with this rule and say that the word “Amongst” can be used as the word “Among” without any restriction. For example:

  1. My uncle lives among/amongst the people of Cherooki tribe.
  2. She detected a letter among/amongst a pile of old books.
  3. It is an old tradition among/amongst the Indians
  4. This girl was one among/amongst many who needed moral support.
  5. Please settle your problems among/amongst yourselves.
  6. Turnbull is the strongest among/amongst his friends.

Meaning of Between

The word “Between” is a preposition. It means “in or into the space separating two points or objects or persons/ in the middle of. For example:

  1. My pen fell between the chair and the rack.
  2. John distributed the apples between Mary and Julie.
  3. The cruise got stuck between the two islands.
  4. He ran very fast between lap 2 and lap 3.

Use of Between in a Sentence

  1. Contact us between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  2. There is alliance between these five countries.
  3. Divide these oranges between you and me.
  4. Shopping between 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm is much cheaper on Ducart.
  5. You can see me between 7th and 9th of this month.
  6. The book has fallen between the two neighbouring walls.
  7. My house is built between two roads.
  8. There is a border dispute between India and China.
  9. The temperature in the month of June was between 43 and 45 degree celcius in Jaipur.
  10. There is a lot of bad feeling between John and Richard.

Use of Among in a Sentence

  1. Divide these oranges among the boys.
  2. Distribute these apples among the children.
  3. To dwell among the wicked is bad.
  4. The leader earned a good name among the blacks.
  5. The children argued among themselves.

Use of Amongst in a Sentence

  1. Ibrahim is the tallest amongst his football team.
  2. Dr. Fame was sitting amongst a group of children, teaching them English language.
  3. The Ganga is the longest amongst rivers in India.
  4. My uncle sat amongst a group of tribal children and told them a story.
  5. It reflects a sign of distress amongst the adolescents.

Leave a Comment