Among vs. Between – The Difference Between

When to use “among” and “between”

Although among and between both describe a location of something, there are differences between the two and therefore each one has a grammatical connection. You must know the difference between them in order to use them properly when speaking or writing. Both are prepositions of place, but are used in different ways. “Between” is used when you are speaking of two choices and “among” is used when there are more than two choices.

For example, between would be the word to choose if you wanted to tell of a choice between two items on the menu.

I have difficulty deciding between mashed potatoes and French fries.

You would use among to talk about more than two things, such as in

I have great difficulty deciding among all the items of food on this menu.

It is important to note that this rule does not work in all cases. Between can be used in sentences where the object of the preposition is people or places. For example, in the sentence,

He could only take one friend, so that meant a choice between Paul and Frank.

In this sentence, the decision has to be made between two people.

Among can be used with a noun that denotes a group, such as

Her words caused a stir among the crowd.

Another way to explain the proper use of “among” and “between” is to say that among must be used when there are more than two distinct objects, individuals or locations and between must be used when there are only two distinct objects, individuals or people.