Column: Between (or among) holidays


Commentary by Curtis Honeycutt


What’s your position on listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving? Do you dare deck your halls prior to dressing your turkey? Let’s discuss the appropriate time to Christmas-ify your life as we discuss how to properly utilize between and among.

Use between when you want to discuss two or more specific, individual things. When it comes to December holidays about which I know the least, I have a tricky time choosing between Boxing Day and Finland’s Independence Day. Although, after looking it up, I learned Finland will be celebrating 100 years since it declared independence from Russian rule. Way to go, Finns.

Use among when you want to discuss things that aren’t specific or individuals. I chose among my collection of obscure Christmas ornaments to find one that made me chortle heartily.

Use among when you are discussing a group of people. Differing positions on when to begin listening to Mariah Carey’s 1994 album Merry Christmas caused a major divide among my dance troupe, ultimately leading to its acrimonious disbanding.

Use among when you’re discussing a person’s relationship with a group of people. After my amateur dance troupe Twilight Twinkle Toes broke up, I felt like the odd man out living among my former dance pals, who were also my roommates. As it turns out, they just wanted to kick me out of the crew because of my stance on listening to Christmas music exclusively after Thanksgiving. The rest of the group met among themselves and re-formed, calling their new group Bad Blood. I should mention at this point that all our dances were vampire-themed.

Depending on your usage, employing between or among when referring to location can change the entire meaning of a sentence. The Woody the Woodpecker balloon in the parade floated among/between the marching bands. Using among insinuates Woody’s transporters lost control and let go of his strings, while using between indicates the parade entries appeared in an orderly fashion. And who appears at the end of the parade? Santa. And, because Santa ends the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, according to logic, it only makes sense to listen to Christmas music after Thanksgiving. Case closed.

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