2

Sentence

A feasibility survey has now been completed in India to establish a network to felicitate contacts between small and medium enterprises.

What is the right form?

Between small and medium enterprises.

or

Among small and medium enterprises.

  • 3
    What's the rest of the sentence? – Jim Aug 21 '14 at 6:01
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    Agreed. More context is required. A very basic rule is we use between when we are talking about two things/people and among for more than two. It's between you and me.; It's among us. – Maulik V Aug 21 '14 at 6:29
  • @ Maulik.. Here we are talking about two different types of things which are enterprises..But there may be a lot of small or medium enterprises more than two..Then what to use between or among??Should I use 'between' considering the two types of enterprise or 'among' considering the number of enterprise? – TzD Aug 21 '14 at 6:42
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    You are talking about the segment and thus you may possibly consider small enterprises - A group; medium enterprises - B group. So, there are two groups. This said, between. "Between small and medium enterprises, we should target the latter one; there's huge potential." But "Among small enterprises, 'X' is leading the market." – Maulik V Aug 21 '14 at 6:55
  • @TzD: You know what you want to say, how can we answer which one it is? Use between if you are talking about small enterprises and medium enterprises, and use among is you mean small and medium enterprises (usually, people use that expression to mean one group of enterprises!). – oerkelens Aug 21 '14 at 7:49
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There is a difference in meaning, so the “right” form depends on what you want to say.

Between indicate that something happens involving (at least) two specific (types) of entities.

A feasibility survey has now been completed in India to establish a network to felicitate contacts between small and medium enterprises.

This sentence means that contacts are facilitated between small enterprises and medium enterprises.

While it is possible that this is the intended meaning, I doubt it. It would make sense if one would wrote something like:

We are trying to facilitate better contacts between citizens and the government.

Usually, the expression small and medium enterprises is used to refer to all those enterprises that are not considered “big”. So we are talking about one group of enterprises.

Among is used to indicate interaction between members of one specific group(*). So it is very likely that the actually intended meaning of the sentence is indeed:

A feasibility survey has now been completed in India to establish a network to felicitate contacts among small and medium enterprises.

This would mean that enterprises in the groups of small and medium enterprises form contacts with other enterprises in the same group. To my mind, this makes more sense than the version with between.

Another simple example of this use, to contrast it with the contacts between citizens and the government:

We also try to facilitate contacts among citizens.


(*) It can also mean the existence of something within a group, but that meaning doesn't seem relevant here: I wanted to find the strongest men among the athletes.

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