By Judy Vorfeld
The Gregg Reference Manual, Ninth Edition, says that in general we use “between” when referring to two persons or things, and “among” when referring to more than two persons or things.
- The bedroom was divided evenly between the two sisters. (If the writer left out the word “two,” by using “between” we’d understand that there were only two.)
- The money is to be evenly divided among the three winners. (If the writer left out the word “three,” we’d understand that there were more than two winners.)
There are exceptions. Gregg recommends using “between” with more than two persons or things when they’re being considered in pairs or in a group.
Examples of exceptions:
- There are distinct differences between Honolulu, Chicago, and Tulsa.
- In packing glassware, be sure to place bubble sheets between the plates.
- The letter says something different if you read between the lines.
- Between you, me, and the gatepost, we should make budget this quarter.
Here’s a site that also addresses the differences.