Between 還是 among 呢?

Between 和 among 都是介系詞。Between 意為「在 (兩個或兩個以上的人事物) 之間」,而這兩者有明確的分開或區別。Among 意為「在 (三個或三個以上的人事物) 之中;為…所圍繞」,而這三者並沒有明確的分開或區別,因為他們是屬於同一群體的一部份。例如:

  • Trade between Taiwan and Thailand has increased sharply in the past year. (在過去一年間,台灣和泰國之間的貿易急劇增加)
  • There is a fence between the two gardens. (兩個花園之間有一道柵欄)
  • Peter saw a few familiar faces among the crowd. (彼得在人群中看見了幾張熟悉的面孔)

Between 後面最常接兩個單數或複數名詞片語 (noun phrases),而這兩個名詞片語之間用 and 連接起來,即 between NP1 and NP2。例如:

  • The negotiations between the union and management have reached a significant agreement. (工會和資方的談判已達成重大協議)
  • What’s the difference between cheetahs and leopards? (獵豹和花豹有何不同呢?)

Between 亦可接表示兩個人事物的名詞或代名詞。例如:

  • There is a significant difference in memory between these two computers. (這兩部電腦在記憶體方面有顯著的差別)
  • They agreed to split the profits between (the two of) them on a fifty-fifty basis. (他們同意將利潤對分)

介於兩個時間或任意兩個數字之間只能使用 between A and B (A 和 B 在此為兩個不同的時間或數字),不能使用 among;換言之,between A and B 為固定搭配,與 from A to B 同義。例如:

  • I was watching TV between 7.00 pm and 7.30 pm yesterday. (昨天下午七時至七時半我正在看電視) (正)
    = I was watching TV from 7.00 pm to 7.30 pm yesterday. (正)
    I was watching TV among 7.00 pm and 7.30 pm yesterday. (誤)
  • These novels were written between 2010 and 2018. (這些小說寫於 2010 至 2018 年間) (正)
    These novels were written among 2010 and 2018. (誤)
  • That fishing village is between 30 and 50 kilometers away. (那個漁村距離這裡約 30 到 50 公里) (正)
    That fishing village is among 30 and 50 kilometers away. (誤)
  • His three children are between the ages of 9 and 13. (他的三個小孩年齡介於 9 歲和 13 歲之間) (正)
    His three children are among the ages of 9 and 13. (誤)

Between 最常位在 connection、difference、distinction、link 和 relationship 等名詞以及 choose、differentiate、distinguish 和 divide 等動詞之後。例如:

  • There’s a strong connection/relationship between lung cancer and smoking. (肺癌和吸菸之間有強烈的關連)
  • There’s a clear difference/distinction between the lifestyles in the two regions. (這兩個地區的生活方式有著明顯的不同)
  • John had to choose between the two women in his life. (面對生命中的兩個女人,約翰必須從中作出選擇)
  • It’s important to distinguish between poisonous and edible mushrooms. (分清楚有毒蘑菇和可食用蘑菇至關重要)

根據上述,among 係用來表示「在 (三個或三個以上的人事物) 之中;為…所圍繞」的意思,其後通常接複數名詞片語。例如:

  • The policy has caused a lot of anger among students. (這項政策在學生中引起極大的憤怒)
  • I count Kevin among my closest friends. (我把凱文當作我最要好的朋友之一)
  • We discussed the scandal quietly among ourselves. (我們之間悄悄地討論了這項醜聞)

在相當常見的 among others 和 among other things 這兩個同義片語中,among 意為「除…之外還;也」(as well as, in addition to),亦即 among 後面的人事物包含在內。例如:

  • Mary has worked as an estate agent among others. (除了其他工作,瑪麗現在也做房屋仲介) - 亦即瑪麗做了很多工作,房屋仲介是其中之一。
  • Jack, among other things (= as well as other things), talked about the 2020 presidential election. (除了別的事情,傑克還談到 2020 總統選舉)

最後要提的是,amongst 有時會被用來替代 among,兩者的意思和用法皆同,但 amongst 比較正式且比較少見。例如:

  • You’re amongst friends. (大家都是朋友)
  • These diseases are more common amongst the elderly. (這些疾病在上了年紀的人當中比較常見)