Word Choice – Between Versus Among

Joanna’s question: “When do you use ‘among’ and when do you use ‘between’?”

BizWritingTip response: The basic rule is to use between when referring to two persons or things andamong when you are referring to more than two.

I divided the workload between Gerry and Susan.
I divided the workload between the two new staff members.
I divided the workload among Gerry, Susan, and Bill.
I divided the workload among the staff members. (more than two)

Let’s look at the exceptions.

When you are referring to geographical locations, use the preposition between regardless of the number.

The VIA Train travels between Montreal, Kingston and Toronto.
I lost my mobile phone somewhere between the parking lot, the lobby, and the parking lot.

When you are referring to an entity that is made up of parts, use among.

The consensus among the voters was to replace him.

Note: In British English, amongst  is often used.