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A Bit of Fine-Tuning, 1: Between/Among

 
 
Roberta
 
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2003 11:34 am
Do we all know the difference in usage between between and among? For those who don't, here's the skinny.

Between is used when there are only two elements involved. For example: This is between him and her; we should stay out of it.

Usage expands to cover collective things: The disagreement between managers and workers is serious.

Among is used when there are more than two things. We discussed the issue among the three of us. Or, We must choose from among A, B, or C.

The same issues apply to each other and one another. Each other is used when there are only two elements: John and Mary met and spoke to each other for an hour.

This applies to groups as well. Managers and workers argued with each other for days.

When there are more than two, we use one another. John, Mary, and Jack met and spoke to one another for an hour. Managers, workers, and the mediator talked with one another for days.

***********************************************************

I have optimistically numbered this thread "1." If there's interest, there will be more.

Please let me know if you have questions you'd like answered. I can add them to the list of topics I plan to cover.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 2,969 • Replies: 27
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2003 12:48 pm
Thank you for the excellent explanation, Roberta! I've never heard it put so well.

Would you care to touch on the use of reflexive pronouns? I see them used incorrectly every day.
0 Replies
 
steissd
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2003 01:01 pm
Thanks, Roberta. Your posting is of high value for the people like me that are not native English speakers. Such "fine tunings" help to avoid language errors making me sound like an uneducated barbarian.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2003 01:09 pm
Thanks, Roberta.

I remember the guideline from school:
among: used for more than two,
between: used for two only.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2003 01:29 pm
Roberta,

This is nearly identical to the explanation I used to use with my students. Keep them coming!
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2003 01:59 pm
Macsm, I'll add reflexive pronouns to my list. If you have a specific problem, let me know. Otherwise, I'll just do some general coverage.

Steissd, I'm glad you like the post. In my wildest dreams, I can't imagine anyone thinking of you as a barbarian--uneducated or otherwise.

Walter, You were lucky to have this covered in school. I learned it on the job.

Craven, I'm glad we're in agreement. I will keep them coming.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2003 02:03 pm
This is great!

A question -- shouldn't "from" be removed from this sentence?

Quote:
We must choose from among A, B, or C.
0 Replies
 
steissd
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2003 02:33 pm
Well, Roberta, sometimes I make mistakes in fields of syntax and words usage, I am aware of this. I studied at the high school very long ago (I graduated in 1979), and I did not use English in the everyday life until immigration to Israel. And, IMO, anyone that does not know English well is a barbarian.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2003 02:46 pm
steissd wrote:
And, IMO, anyone that does not know English well is a barbarian.


At least those, who speak English as their mother tomgue, should have some better knowledge of it.

On the other hand, using the knowledge of English as criteria for barbarism (= an idea, act, or expression that in form or use offends against contemporary standards of good taste or acceptability) seems , IMHO, to be a little far-fetched. (It is only until lately that English is taught in primary schools in some German states obligatorily.)
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2003 04:34 pm
Really? I thought that all the Europeans, except French, had good command of English. I met German tourists both in Israel and abroad, and all them had a very good command of this language (and majority of the East Germans knew Russian as well...).
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2003 11:23 pm
re. obligatoriyl learning English in primary schools:
yes.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2003 11:43 pm
steissd wrote:
And, IMO, anyone that does not know English well is a barbarian.


Steissd, that's just sad. Many are eager to learn but do not have the money. I used to teach ESL to homeless teens and they did not speak well. They were most certainly not barbarians.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2003 11:52 pm
sozobe wrote:
This is great!

A question -- shouldn't "from" be removed from this sentence?

Quote:
We must choose from among A, B, or C.


Sozobe, The from is correct. The among suggests a group. Something must be selected from the group. You could also say, We must choose A, B, or C. Three individual things as opposed to a group of things. Once the among is added, the from must be added as well. I hope my explanation is clear.

Walter and Steissd, If English isn't taught as a mandatory subject in school, people must learn it on their own, which is not always easy or even possible.

I tutor ESL students. Some learned English in school, and others didn't. What I've learned from this is that becoming fluent in English, or any language, as an adult is a daunting and difficult task. I don't think I could do it.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2003 11:56 pm
Good grief, Craven. Is a graffitist loose in here?
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2003 11:57 pm
Well, English is mandatory, in secondary schools/high schools.

I just wanted to say that I a) have a different understanding of barbarism, b) agree complitely, what Craven said and c) well, we learn here at least two foreign languages from the age of 12 onwards (on high schools) ....
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Apr, 2003 12:05 am
Roberta,

No comment. :-)
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Apr, 2003 09:52 am
Very cool, Roberta. I love the nuances of English.

Will you add forte (pronounced fort) and forte (pronounced fort tay) to your list and explain when each is used. So many get it wrong, even music students.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Apr, 2003 06:54 pm
Sure, Piff, First I have to find out the difference. Then I'll be happy to post the info.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Apr, 2003 06:57 pm
M-W wrote:
In forte we have a word derived from French that in its "strong point" sense has no entirely satisfactory pronunciation. Usage writers have denigrated \'for-"tA\ and \'for-tE\ because they reflect the influence of the Italian-derived 2forte. Their recommended pronunciation \'fort\, however, does not exactly reflect French either: the French would write the word le fort and would rhyme it with English for. So you can take your choice, knowing that someone somewhere will dislike whichever variant you choose. All are standard, however. In British English \'fo-"tA\ and \'fot\ predominate; \'for-"tA\ and \for-'tA\ are probably the most frequent pronunciations in American English


Listen to one way

Listen to the other way
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Apr, 2003 07:03 pm
Thanks, Craven. I hadn't thought that there was a difference. Your post bears that out, as does my Webster's.

Piffka, have you encountered people who think there's a difference between forte pronounced fortay and forte pronounced fort?
0 Replies
 
 

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