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Are you between or among patients?

In this example of a common confusion, it depends.

If you mean you’ve finished seeing one patient and you’re waiting for the next one to arrive, then you’re between patients.

If you mean quite a few of the patients you’ve seen today have the same problem, then you can say that among your patients several are suffering from shingles.

How to decide which one is right?

When only two people, things or issues are involved, use between:

She’s between appointments so she’s free to talk.
There was some friction between the nurse and the patient.
Between you and me, he needs to lose at least 20 kilos.

But when more than two are involved, there’s a choice.

If you’re thinking of the individuals and how they relate to each other, still use between:

There’s a conflict between the doctor, the therapist and the nutritionist.

When you’re thinking about the group, it’s among:

He’s the only one among my patients who does his exercises regularly.
The extension of surgery hours has caused problems among the staff.
Among the medications I’ve tried, this one works best.

So when you mean the whole group, think AA and see if you can add all: Among All the group.

Whereas EEE stands for bEtwEEnEvEryonE, making it individual.

Is that easier now?

Here, here and here are more explanations for common confusions.

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© Christina Wielgolawski