le choix 'entre' ...

ElleA2Kwiziq community member

le choix 'entre' ...

In English, the word 'between' is used when there is a choice between two items.  If the choice is more than two, the word 'among' is used.  Is this different in French?  Or in this case, does 'entre' have the same meaning as 'among'.  Merci!

Asked 3 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Elle,

I must say your question had me thinking ... I don't remember ever having been taught this but I have found a reference which suggests this is the same in French -

https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/parmi-entre.34292/#:~:text=%22Entre%20is%20used%20when%20there,a%20plural%20or%20collective%20nouns.

Personally, I am never sure whether I use 'among' and 'amongst' correctly in English as they are both translated by 'parmi' in French!

Bonne Continuation !

PaulC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Elle, I don’t think that is really always the case in English. We do indeed say “between” sometimes for more than 2 cases. And I wouldn’t say “you have a choice among the 4:36, the 5:45 and the 6:55 trains”. In my mind “among” means somewhere  in the midst of a group and not so much one of three distinct points of time for example. I would use “between’ in this case, in both English and French. (But maybe as an Australian my English is nearly as bad as my French!)

PaulC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
I’ve just looked more into it and in English you use “between” for any number of elements as long as the elements are separate and distinct e.g. “he had to choose between a bicycle, a train set, a pair of shoes and a new backpack for his birthday present” or “negotiations between the member states have collapsed”, whereas “among” is used for people or things that are not distinct and are viewed as a group e.g. “she only felt comfortable among her friends”, “there wasn’t much unity among the council members”. So I imagine this would hold true for French as well with “entre” and “parmi”.
ElleA2Kwiziq community member

Thank you, Paul.  This is interesting because it is not what I learned in school.  However, your response is correct based on:  

www.grammarbook.com/blog/prepositions/among-vs-between/

Thanks again!

JamesA2Kwiziq community member

I was thinking the same thing - it sounded odd to me to use entre when choosing from three options. But of course Paul is correct. Learning French causes me to think more critically about my own language. Merci à tous !

le choix 'entre' ...

In English, the word 'between' is used when there is a choice between two items.  If the choice is more than two, the word 'among' is used.  Is this different in French?  Or in this case, does 'entre' have the same meaning as 'among'.  Merci!

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