This example presented below is from Saussure's Course in General Linguistics translated into English by Roy Harris.

If words had the job of representing concepts fixed in advance, one would be able to find exact equivalents for them as between one language and another.

It seems to me that the expression as between can be safely replaced by between without compromising its meaning. Is it so?

In a discussion elsewhere it is proposed that the as here functions much like for instance: 'as' may have the meaning of 'for instance'. Is this kind of as commonly found in other collocations with a preposition after it?

2 Answers 2


I agree with Kenneth M Burling Jr's answer, but I would like to elaborate.

The only reference work I found online citing this expression is Black's Law Dictionary, 2nd Ed., 1910. So, the expression does not seem current in ordinary English, and the citation that you included in your question may not have had anything more in mind than you suggest.

Here's an old use of the expression in legal writing:

The temporary bailee of a chattel is entitled to it as between himself and a stranger.

In that quotation, the bailee and the stranger are two people, and we are considering which of them should receive a chattel, an object that they both want. The two of them, the bailee and the stranger, are the two people in different relationships to the chattel. The author did not mean that the bailee wants to put the chattel between himself and a stranger. The author meant instead that "as between" them, i.e. should we have to choose between them, the bailee should get the chattel, and the stranger should not.


No, "as between" cannot be replaced by "between." They have slightly different meanings.

By itself "between" compares two things, or acts as a preposition.

The phrase "as between" is comparing a description of a third object to the relationship between two other objects.

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