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    #1

    differences among/between the four

    Can both among and between be used in this context? (The original preposition is among, and I added 'between' to make sure whether both can be used.) Thank you in advance.


    The differences among/between the four are equally striking. Geographically, Kazakstan is by far the largest with 2.7 million square kilometers and Azerbaijan the smallest with only 87,000. Uzbekistan, with 23 million inhabitants, has the largest population, while Turkmenistan has the smallest, at 4.5 million. With an estimated per capita income of $1,400, Kazakstan is the richest, while Azerbaijan is the poorest with only $480. All have experienced negative annual growth and falling per capita income over the last decade. In terms of energy resources, ...

    From:Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA)

    Date1998 (Nov/Dec) Publication informationNov/Dec98, Vol. 77 Issue 6, p95-111, 17p, 1 mapTitleOPEC as Omen.AuthorAmuzegar, JahangirSourceForeign Affairs

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    #2

    Re: differences among/between the four

    'The differences between the four' is fine.

    This link:

    between among - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

    will lead you to many discussions on the subject.

    Rover

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    #3

    Re: differences among/between the four

    Thanks so much, Rover KE.
    So I read the thread on the wordreference.com forum and can see that native speakers don't agree with one another about the choice of between and among for three or more people or things.

    I think I'll believe in Rover KE and the other teachers here because of your excelllent English. Thank you again.

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    #4

    Re: differences among/between the four

    My fussy grammar schoolmarm did teach us once that "between" relates exactly two objects, and "among" relates more than two or an indefinite number.

    Actual usage is of course another matter altogether. I suspect there is very little standard distinction there, and much personal choice.

    In fact, I wonder whether teachers now discuss this point in class at all. If they don't, it's another little way in which the language has changed in the last few decades.

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    #5

    Re: differences among/between the four

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Can both among and between be used in this context? (The original preposition is among, and I added 'between' to make sure whether both can be used.) Thank you in advance.


    The differences among/between the four are equally striking. Geographically, Kazakstan is by far the largest with 2.7 million square kilometers and Azerbaijan the smallest with only 87,000. Uzbekistan, with 23 million inhabitants, has the largest population, while Turkmenistan has the smallest, at 4.5 million. With an estimated per capita income of $1,400, Kazakstan is the richest, while Azerbaijan is the poorest with only $480. All have experienced negative annual growth and falling per capita income over the last decade. In terms of energy resources, ...

    From:Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA)

    Date1998 (Nov/Dec) Publication informationNov/Dec98, Vol. 77 Issue 6, p95-111, 17p, 1 mapTitleOPEC as Omen.AuthorAmuzegar, JahangirSourceForeign Affairs

    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) According to Mr. Michael Swan's beloved book:

    We use between, notamong, after difference.


    His example:

    What are the differences between crows, rooks and jackdaws?


    Respectfully yours,


    James

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    #6

    Re: differences among/between the four

    The google test for "the differences among" as a quoted phrase yields 11 million results; "the differences between", 74 million. The factor is 6.7.

    Meanwhile "ain't" yields 124,000,000 while "(isn't | aren't | am not)" yields 3,930,000,000. The factor is 31, half a magnitude larger.

    In light of the nearly five-fold proportion in factors, and especially since "ain't" is not going away despite being the single most commonly condemned ungrammatical construction I can think of, "differences between" seems a good description, but a poor rule.
    Last edited by abaka; 16-May-2011 at 18:09. Reason: typo, sigh

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