These words don’t look or sound the same. But the confusion of between, among, and amid comes from the types of relationships the words indicate. (And this isn’t even including amongst in the mix). Often people use these words interchangeably, but many style guides call for distinction. So it’s important that you use the words correctly.
Between: refers to one-to-one relationships
Among: refers to collective relationships
Amid: used with mass nouns
Their Usage And Some Examples
Between you and me, I think the movie was actually better than the book for once.
There is a clear relationship including the speaker and one other person.
There was unease among the crowd.
There is a collective relationship. The sentence doesn’t indicate discrete relationships.
He struggled to stay calm amid the confusion.
“Confusion” is a mass noun. Also, “amid” can be substituted with “in the middle of.” If you can clearly include that short phrase, “amid” is the word you want.
Between, among, and amid were often used interchangeably. Their meanings haven’t really changed. Today, though, distinctions should be made. Just keep in mind what sort of groups or relationships you’re describing and you’ll be all set!
Check out another set of commonly confused words to continue improving your vocabulary.