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By Judy Vorfeld

Do you get con­fused over when to use “among” and when to use “between”? Let’s see if I can help with­out con­fus­ing you further!

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:

  1. There are dis­tinct dif­fer­ences between Honolulu, Chicago, and Tulsa.

  2. In pack­ing glass­ware, be sure to place bub­ble sheets between the plates.

  3. The let­ter says some­thing dif­fer­ent if you read between the lines.
  4. Between you, me, and the gatepost, we should make bud­get this quarter.

Here’s a site that also addresses the differences.


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