+0
"The disagreements between the defenders of moral realism show that moral values are not real".

Is it not the case that here one must use "between" only if there are two defenders, but "among" if there are more than two?

Sextus
1 2
Comments  
That's true.
Absolutely!
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Hi

I agree we have no choice other than 'between' in the case of two defenders. But as for the case there are more than two defenders, I think we can choose both 'among' and 'between'. OED says about the choice as follows.

In all senses, 'between' has been, from its earliest appearance, extended to more than two. In OE. and ME. it was so extended in sense 1 (=local relation of points), in which among is now considered better. It is still the only word available to express the relation of a thing to many surrounding things severally and individually, among expressing a relation to them collectively and vaguely: we should not say 'the space lying among the three points,' or 'a treaty among three powers,' or 'the choice lies among the three candidates in the select list,' or 'to insert a needle among the closed petals of a flower.'

Suppose there are three defenders, A, B and C. If I hear 'disagreement(s) between them', I feel like : A and B disagree, B and C disagree, and C and A disagree. If I hear 'disagreement(s) among them', I feel, it can also mean such a case that A and B agree but C disagrees with A and B. But it's my humble opinion and I might be wrong as usual.

[FYI] results of Google survey
disagreement(s) between three … 115+(19)
disagreement(s) among three … 67+(8)

paco
Aha... Very interesting post, Paco. I think you usually tend to give this kind of useful and exact information.

Thanks to you and the others who have answered my question,

Sextus
So it should be:

I can tell the difference between (not among) the three men.

Isn't it? Thanks.

Ricky
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Hello Ricky

As you see, I'm a mere learner. So I cannot tell you anything with confidence. What I can say is something I found in written documents or the result of google survey.

As for "difference between/among (the) three", the google gives:
difference(s) between (the) three … 126,000+208,000+24,000+21,000=379,000
difference(s) among (the) three … 122,000+42,000+21,400+600=186,000

If you restrict the search domain into Gutemberg.org (collection of English classic literature), the result will be :
difference(s) between (the) three … 18+2+7+2=29
difference(s) among (the) three … 0+0+0+0=0

paco
Yes; "differences between the three men" might relate to differences as in 1) "things that are different" or 2) "disagreements".

But "differences among the three men" would only relate to "disagreements".

MrP
I think that today I'm a little dumb, because I couldn't understand your post!

Sextus
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Show more