I know that "between" is used when the individual items are specified and "among" is used when they are not. Ref:
https://www.grammarly.com/blog/between-among/ . Examples:

  • I need to choose between Yale, Oxford and Stanford.
  • I need to choose among these universities.

Based on that, "among us" should be correct and "between us" incorrect, but I am not sure this is always valid. For instance:

  • Let's keep it between us.
  • Let's keep it among us.

Both sound correct to me. Is that right? If so, is it an exception or have I misunderstood the rule used to choose between "between" and "among" ?


Between strongly implies either/or.

I need to choose between Yale, Oxford, and Stanford (you need to choose exactly one of either Yale, or Oxford, or Stanford).

Between also might be used to imply that you're giving up something by choosing something else.

Among X is simply saying what your pool of choices are. It can be used in something less rigid than either/or, but is OK to use in a strict either/or situation as well.

I need to choose among the chocolate, coconut, or caramel ice cream flavors (You can choose more than one).

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  • Thanks for the answer, but it focuses only on my initial examples and does not deal with my main question (keep it between us / keep it among us). – Alan Evangelista Nov 27 '19 at 10:48

Between can be used when you have distinct individual choices(options) which is usually about 2/3 choices where Among can be used when you have (the number of groups containing) choices(options) more than 3.

For eg.

I have to choose between Berklee or Yale.

The decision of choosing an appropriate university among the given list was literally difficult.

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  • When you're a group of friends having some secret about your professor at that time you can tell in the group that Let's keep it among us. While with your single friend you can tell him/her that Let's keep it between us. – Bhaumik Thakkar Nov 27 '19 at 11:38
  • Hope it helps you. – Bhaumik Thakkar Nov 27 '19 at 11:38

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