You grow old and die anyway. And then there's everything you have to endure in between/inbetween: grief, loneliness, sickness.

What's the correct choice? And why?


Between on its own is a preposition while in-between functions more like an adverb.

We usually use between before the object it refers to:

Between life and death is a long, hard life.

In-between normally comes after the thing it refers to, like in your example.

Here is another example using in between:

I couldn't find my key anywhere, not under the sofa or the chair next to it. Then as I stood up, I saw it glistening in between.

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  • Are you saying "In between" is a preposition while "in-between" is an adverb? - Sorry just trying to clarify. – SolarLunix Aug 6 '15 at 17:16
  • In-between usually functions as an adjective. I actually think the last example should be in between, since it is a prepositional usage, not in-between. – Aaron Brown Aug 6 '15 at 18:27
  • @SolarLunix - yes. Aaron Brown - you're right. I've edited the answer accordingly. – JMB Aug 6 '15 at 19:10

In between (2 words) is the correct punctuation for an adverbial phrase, which is how the phrase functions in your sentence. It's also the correct punctuation for a prepositional phrase (e.g., "I live in between two skyscrapers"), but that usage is unnecessary since you can just substitute "between".

In-between, with a hyphen, is used as an adjective ("an in-between realm") or a noun ("neither here nor there but the vast in-between"). These usages are an order of magnitude less common than the adverbial phrase.

Inbetween, with neither a space nor a hyphen, is non-standard, as far as I know.

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  • 2
    Doesn't "inbetween" mean "to interpolate motion" in animation? – Damian Yerrick Jun 5 '16 at 18:37

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