Hi,

I got a question with the usage of among.

This construction is illegal right? The Benz is sitting among the Toyota and Nissan.

For two (identified) individuals, one should use between and not among, right?

However, for more than two or unspecified number, depending on the intended meaning, I can use among and between?

I looked up usage notes on this matter, but I am still unsure. A little help please.

Thank you.
Hi Holyduke,

The Benz is one among many cars parked on the lot. It is sitting between the Toyata and the Nissan.

Hope this helps.

John
Hi John,

But what happens if we add a third car?

The Benz is sitting between the Toyota, the Nissan and the Honda. (they are all distinct, clearly separable things so "between seems perfectly correct).
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Hi Ivanhr,

The concept of between can be difficult.

The fact is, whether there are three cars or three thousand other cars, the Benz can only sit between two of them.

Otherwise, it will be among one of the three ( or three thousand) or in front of one, or in back of one, behind one, beside one, next to one, to the right of one, to the left of one - but it can only be be between two of the cars on the lot. In this case the Benz is either between the Toyota and the Nissan or the Toyota and the Honda or the Nissan and the Honda.

The definition of between is: in the space separating, in the middle of, with one on either side; amid, amidst; archaic: 'betwixt'.

Hope this helps.

John
One example from Practical English Usage (by Michael Swan)

Our house is between the woods, the river and the village.

I suppose the cars can be placed in such an arrangement so the Benz is exactly in the middle of them, in which case it's possible for it to be between the Toyota, the Nisan and the Honda, I think.

I agree that there are situations when it's not a clear-cut choice.
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