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Write the Right Word: Among and Between

Are you confused about whether to use “among” or “between”? You aren’t alone.

“Between” generally refers to a relationship involving two people, animals or things. For example: “Let’s keep this news between you and me.” Or: “I have to choose between going to the movie and going to the mall.”

“Among” refers to a relationship involving three or more people, animals or things. For example, “Researchers found no differences in yield among the three wheat varieties they studied.”

Following those same rules, “between” is correct when three or more people, animals or things are considered one group. For instance: “Salary negotiations are underway between the company and its janitorial, secretarial and mailroom staff.” The three types of staff are considered a single unit.

One other note: Avoid using “amongst” for “among” in the writing we do. “Amongst” is considered archaic and overly formal.

, Information Specialist, 701-231-5391

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