When we need to express differentiating two things we can say "draw a (clear) line between A and B", but can we extend two things to three or more things? Can we say something like "draw two lines among three things" or "draw several lines among these things(A, B, C, D, E, F, and G)"?

Or any more appropriate sayings? Thanks in advance.

  • Is this in a mathematics context? Geometry, networks, etc? There is specific terminology that mathematicians use for this.
    – John Feltz
    Mar 18, 2020 at 15:02
  • 3
    If you're using it as an idiom, do not deviate from the dictionary form.
    – user3395
    Mar 18, 2020 at 15:13
  • For several (non-mathematical) things, it is better to talk about "clear boundaries" between them. Mar 18, 2020 at 16:58

2 Answers 2


With three items to be distinguished from each other, three different lines are possible. It gets cumbersome to specify the number of lines, especially with more than three items. Instead, you can say "We need to draw clear lines between three different cases." Also, you can say "We need to distinguish/differentiate [between] three different cases."
The word "between" is optional there.

  • I haven't been able to find any examples of this phrase being used for more than two things, otherwise I'd post my own answer. Two is definitely the expected number, but more than two doesn't sound strange to me. "We need to draw a line between A, B, C, and D."
    – CJ Dennis
    Mar 19, 2020 at 2:46

There is some ambiguity as to the meaning of the term, although you may have enough context to decide:

If I am attempting to connect two or more topics, one could say that I am "trying to draw a clear line (meaning connection, association, or relationship) between them." As in, "as the detective looked at the suspects' photographs tacked to his bulletin board, a clear line began to form in his mind, connecting each of their stories, and weaving a far more believable narrative."

Likewise, if I'm trying to make their differences more stark, one could say that "I have drawn a clear line (or 'drawn clear lines') separating them. As in, "there are some profound differences between the political parties... clear lines can be drawn, separating each and serving to box in their views on each of the key topics."

Finally, it can also mean to create a barrier or a wall. As in "the man stepped smartly forward. Using the toe of his boot, he proceeded to draw a clear line in the sand, slowly and deliberately, as if daring either of his attackers to cross it."

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