5

There are 4 players. And the question goes:

Who is the best player "between" Jenny, Sam, David, and Lucy?

Is the use of "between" correct after each names? Or if not, what is appropriate?

  • 1
    FYI, people also have strong opinions on the presence or absence of a comma before the last "and": en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_comma. I see you tried to make everyone happy by using two different conventions in the title and in the body of the question. :) – Federico Poloni Aug 1 '16 at 7:55
  • @Frederico - I see it more as displeasing everybody as 'everybody' will consider there to be one "incorrect" use, as opposed to being consistent and displeasing only half of the audience. ;) – kwah Aug 1 '16 at 10:21
4

In your example, between can be used without loss of understanding

Who is the best player between Jenny, Sam, David, and Lucy?

However, between is usually used in binary choices

Please choose between A or B.

Among is more often used when choosing from a related "group"

Among the car manufacturers: Ford, Audi, Volvo, which do you think is best?

Among your choices are: watching tv, going bowling, or going swimming.
You can choose between watching tv, going bowling, or going swimming.

Also acceptable and understandable is

Between watching tv, going bowling, or going swimming, which would you prefer?

Using between among more than two choices tends to be more informal.

  • 2
    Amoung is an archaic spelling of among. – MooseBoys Aug 1 '16 at 6:49
  • 1
    I edited from "amoung" to "among". While some web pages claim that "amoung" is an alternative spelling, others describe it as "obsolete" and the OED doesn't even mention it as a historical spelling. I wouldn't recommend ever using "amoung". (Cc @MooseBoys ) – David Richerby Aug 1 '16 at 11:07
  • Thank you. And the followings are perfectly ok too? 1. Among A,B,C & D, who is the best player? 2. Among watching tv, going bowling, or going swimming, which do you prefer? – Joe Kim Aug 2 '16 at 0:06
  • Yes, both would be used by a native. – Peter Aug 2 '16 at 0:24
3

I would not say "between" is necessarily wrong, but for a choice within a group I would use among or amongst.

  1. in the group, class, or number of ⇒ ranked among the greatest writers
3

Between isn't very common when there are more than two choices, but it is understandable.

You could use among/amongst as the other answers have suggested, or you could consider using out of:

Who is the best player out of Jenny, Sam, David, and Lucy?

And you can also reverse it to say which of the group is the best:

Out of Jenny, Sam, David, and Lucy, David is the best player.


Source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/out+of

3. From among: five out of six votes.

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