Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Among" and "Between"

For the foreseeable future, I am going to try to straighten out the differences between or among words that are often confused. I will rate each set of confusing words as to their “distractibility,” that is, the degree to which readers will be distracted from the writers’ meaning if they fail to use the accurate word. * = Who cares? ** = Some people will be distracted. *** = Many people will be distracted. Usage problems distract readers from concentrating on meaning.

Question: When do you use “among” and “between”?

Answer: “Among” is used when referring to more than two or a group, as in “choosing from among five contestants.” “Between” refers to choosing between two, as in, “You must select between the red car and the black car.”

By the way, a related usage problem: ALWAYS use “Between you and ME….” (Object of the preposition “between.”)

Rating of Distractibility: ***

No comments: