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    #1

    "between four walls?"

    can i say: "between four walls" ???


    i thought the preposition "between" is used only for specification a position when speaking about two other objects (I walked between Jacob and Peter)

    Should "among/amongst" not be there?


    "I sat amongst four walls"


    thanks for a clarification

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    #2

    Re: "between four walls?"

    Quote Originally Posted by jirikoo View Post
    can i say: "between four walls" ???


    i thought the preposition "between" is used only for specification a position when speaking about two other objects (I walked between Jacob and Peter)

    Should "among/amongst" not be there?


    "I sat amongst four walls"


    thanks for a clarification
    This was discussed here some time ago. Perhaps someone will know how to search for it.

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    #3

    Re: "between four walls?"

    Hi jiricoo,

    You might read again the following link:

    "between four walls?" - Englishpage.com Forums

    Please, turn your attention to the next thread:

    Marius Hancu [IMG]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/ADMINI%7E1/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/msohtml1/01/clip_image001.gif[/IMG]
    Senior Member

    Join Date: Jul 2008
    Location: Montreal, Canada
    Posts: 1,257
    [IMG]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/ADMINI%7E1/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/msohtml1/01/clip_image002.gif[/IMG]
    As shown by hits at the New York Times, the first is the norm:

    78 from nytimes.com for "between four walls"
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...22&btnG=Search

    while the 2nd seems to be frowned at:

    0 from nytimes.com for "among four walls"
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...22&btnG=Search


    An acceptable alternative in some situations could well be:

    125 from nytimes.com for "inside four walls"
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...22&btnG=Search

    However, when less strict standards are applied, it seems that even the 2nd is OK for some book authors:

    86 on "among four walls"
    http://books.google.com/books?q=%22a...G=Search+Books

    still much less than the usual:

    769 on "between four walls"
    http://books.google.com/books?q=%22b...G=Search+Books



    Regards,

    V.


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    #4

    Re: "between four walls?"

    Ah, the chickens come home to roost.
    If Americans show disregard for the meanings of words, and invent their own phraseologies...


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    #5

    Re: "between four walls?"

    'Between' suggests that the objects are viewed individually. With 'among' they are regarded, to a certain extent, as a mass, even if they are discrete objects. It can be proved with a simple test.

    Our village is situated between the river, the field and the forest.

    Would it be possible to substitute 'among' in this sentence? Of course, not.

    Even when the objects are not named individually they are understood that way: There was a ball between the car wheels.

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    #6

    Re: "between four walls?"

    Hmm, I'm not sure I agree with all my compatriots above. For me, "between" is purely spatial, so between the four walls is fine. "Among" implies a status for the objects, such that they are equal or comparable to the subject, as in a person sitting among other people. You could say you sat between two statues, but if you said you sat among the statues, we would get the impression you were personifying the statues, or thinking of them as people.


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    #7

    Re: "between four walls?"

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Hmm, I'm not sure I agree with all my compatriots above. For me, "between" is purely spatial, so between the four walls is fine. "Among" implies a status for the objects, such that they are equal or comparable to the subject, as in a person sitting among other people. You could say you sat between two statues, but if you said you sat among the statues, we would get the impression you were personifying the statues, or thinking of them as people.
    If that was true the following sentence would be ungrammatical. But is it?

    We threaded our way among the tables till we came to him. (S.Maugham)

    Do you have the impression that 'the tables' are personified?


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    #8

    Re: "between four walls?"

    'among':
    (i) surrounded by
    "Wild strawberries hidden among the roots of the trees."
    and
    in the company of
    "You're among friends."


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    #9

    Re: "between four walls?"

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    'among':
    (i) surrounded by
    "Wild strawberries hidden among the roots of the trees."
    and
    in the company of
    "You're among friends."
    Basically, yes. But there are some peculiarities:

    1) Among his baggage was a medicine chest.
    I think it's more exact to call it 'part of a group of objects'. It has more to do with the concept of multitude.

    2) There appeared such perfectly good understanding among them all.
    I believe we could describe the meaning of 'among' through the idea of involvement.

    3) Share the money among the twelve of you.
    The idea of distribution.

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    #10

    Re: "between four walls?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    If that was true the following sentence would be ungrammatical. But is it?

    We threaded our way among the tables till we came to him. (S.Maugham)

    Do you have the impression that 'the tables' are personified?
    A good point, but I'm fairly sure we're not talking grammar here so much as style, or as normative, idiomatic usage. A novelist, essentially an artist, could be seen as using "the tables" in a synechdochal manner to refer to the other guests: "We threaded our way among the other guests until we came to him." So, yes indeed, I feel Maugham is using "tables" in an entirely anthropomorphic manner. :)

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