Among vs. between

There is an old usage rule saying that between applies to two things, and among to more than two things. This is the sort of rule that never dies despite being only partially borne out in the language of actual English speakers. Between has been commonly used for more than two things for many centuries, as it is to this day. This use of the word is seen in the works of great writers and in edited writing of all kinds up to the present. It could be that reserving between for two things would be useful, but this part of the rule is just not evinced in the language.

Of course, the rule does work the other way; among is almost never applied to two things. For example, most English speakers would say, “I chose between french fries and salad,” and not, “I chose among french fries and salad.”

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