Dictionary.com Word FAQs
When do I use among instead of between?
The rule often conveyed is that one should use between for two entities, among for more than two things. The usage, if one follows this rule, is: I must choose between saying something and keeping quiet. / He is among the best artists in the school. However, between is the word you need to express the relation of a thing to many surrounding things severally and individually; among expresses a relation to them collectively and vaguely. So, one should use between to express one-to-one relations of many things and among to express collective and undefined relations. You may also use between when the entities are considered as distinct individuals and among with mass or collective nouns. The usage is "The squirrels played among the trees," with the place of play considered to be the general location of the trees taken together. Use between for distinct entities like "The artifacts were found between the house, the outhouse, and the barn." Without a one-to-one relation, among is the better word: "The ladies had 10 step-children among them."