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Thread: What do I say here? (the English language)

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    Default What do I say here? (the English language)

    Can you help? What do I use here? Between or among?


    -I don't know where to study. I must choose ______ best universities in the UK.
    -I don't know where to study. I must choose ______ three universities in the UK.

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    East Midlands - Regional Organiser new boy's Avatar
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    Between
    NEWBOYS MINOR PAINT REPAIRS
    Need minor paint work? wheels repainting? Thinking of colour coding v grill or bootstrip? Plus headlights split and painted.Now split and painting insignia headlights
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    Regular Member puppet's Avatar
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    Are the words that you have given specific examples that you absolutely must use? The first sentence in particular just doesn't quite work with just putting in the single word 'between' or 'among'. You could possibly go with something like the following:

    -I don't know where to study. I must choose ______ best universities in the UK.
    You could use:
    -I don't know where to study. I must choose which university is best for me in the UK.
    or
    -I don't know where to study. I must choose which UK university is best for me.


    -I don't know where to study. I must choose ______ three universities in the UK.
    You could use:
    -I don't know where to study. I must choose among three universities in the UK.
    (You could argue if this should be 'between' or 'among', as both would probably be fine. I'm no expert, but as far as I know, 'between' is typically used for a choice from 2 things, and 'among' for a choice from 3 or more things.)
    or
    -I don't know where to study. I must choose one of three universities in the UK.

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    Between is better than Among IMO. Between implies choice or difference between items, whereas among is descriptive of a group of items. What causes confusion for non-native English speakers is that in other languages (certainly for example in West European languages such as Spanish, French, Italian) the same word can be translated into English as 'between' and 'among'.
    Last edited by john_k_sri; 10th April 2017 at 10:57.

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    Grammatically, 'among' is used for a group of items whereas 'between' is used for a specific number of items. So your examples would be 'among' the best universities, and 'between' three universities.

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    Regular Member puppet's Avatar
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    We could debate this all day lol!

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    Quote Originally Posted by john_k_sri View Post
    in other languages (certainly for example in West European languages such as Spanish, French, Italian) the same word can be translated into English as 'between' and 'among'.
    Exactly, we have one word for both of them in Polish.


    Anyway, thanks guys, I do appreciate your input here.

    How about here:

    -There is a trade agreement __________ three countries.
    -There is a trade agreement __________ countries in Europe.

    -You must divide the money ___________ your sons.
    -You must divide the money ___________ your four sons.

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    Are we doing your homework?

    between three countries
    among countries

    among your sons
    between your four sons

    They are not worded well; if there were only 2 sons, 'between' would do for both examples. Similarly, if you had narrowed the universities down to the best 2, it would be 'between' the best.

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    No, it's not homework. I'm a teacher of English here in Poland and I'm trying to figure out some rules for my students, as the rules presented in books don't help at all. I would even say they are contradictory.

    And here:

    -We have been collecting money in our class and so far we've raised $100 _____ us.
    -There is a thief _________ us

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    between
    among or even amongst us. Both mean the same, but amongst is harder to pronounce.

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