Browse Definitions :

Can you use “between” when you’re talking about more than two things?

Writing for Business

Which is correct?
Instead of choosing _______ Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud, people often use more than one cloud storage service.
a. between
b. among


Answer: a.

Explanation:
Although among isn’t strictly wrong, between is the better choice when you’re referring to a choice involving distinct entities, even if there are more than two. There’s a common grammar myth that you can only use the word “among” in reference to three or more items. In fact — as is so often the case — reality is a little more complicated than that.

@GrammarGirl explains:
“Here’s the deal: you can use the word “between” when you are talking about distinct, individual items even if there are more than two of them. For example, you could say, “She chose between Harvard, Brown, and Yale” because the colleges are individual items.
Relationships
The Chicago Manual of Style describes these as one-to-one relationships. Sometimes they are between two items, groups, or people, as in these sentences:

Choose between Squiggly and Aardvark.
Let’s keep this between you and me.

Other times they can be between more than two items, groups, or people as in these sentences:

The negotiations between the cheerleaders, the dance squad, and the flag team were going well despite the confetti incident.
The differences between English, Chinese, and Arabic are significant.”

 Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

Dig Deeper on Writing for Business

Networking
Security
  • personally identifiable information (PII)

    Personally identifiable information (PII) is any data that could potentially identify a specific individual.

  • zero-day vulnerability

    A zero-day vulnerability is a security loophole in software, hardware or firmware that threat actors exploit before the vendors ...

  • DNS attack

    A DNS attack is an exploit in which an attacker takes advantage of vulnerabilities in the domain name system.

CIO
  • data collection

    Data collection is the process of gathering data for use in business decision-making, strategic planning, research and other ...

  • chief trust officer

    A chief trust officer (CTrO) in the IT industry is an executive job title given to the person responsible for building confidence...

  • green IT (green information technology)

    Green IT (green information technology) is the practice of creating and using environmentally sustainable computing resources.

HRSoftware
  • diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)

    Diversity, equity and inclusion is a term used to describe policies and programs that promote the representation and ...

  • ADP Mobile Solutions

    ADP Mobile Solutions is a self-service mobile app that enables employees to access work records such as pay, schedules, timecards...

  • director of employee engagement

    Director of employee engagement is one of the job titles for a human resources (HR) manager who is responsible for an ...

Customer Experience
  • digital marketing

    Digital marketing is the promotion and marketing of goods and services to consumers through digital channels and electronic ...

  • contact center schedule adherence

    Contact center schedule adherence is a standard metric used in business contact centers to determine whether contact center ...

  • customer retention

    Customer retention is a metric that measures customer loyalty, or an organization's ability to retain customers over time.

Close