Audiendus wrote:The Oxford English Dictionary states:[Between] is still the only word available to express the relation of a thing to many surrounding things severally and individually, among expressing a relation to them collectively and vaguely.
It points out that between has been used with more than two items for as long as the word has existed, i.e. over 1,000 years.
We say "Switzerland lies between France, Germany, Italy and Austria" and "a treaty was signed between the three nations". Here we are referring to a single collective relationship, not a series of bilateral ones.
And to return to my earlier post, what alternative word would you suggest if the guests were seated in a line, or if the plate only travelled a small part of the circle? "Between" seems a nice versatile word which can be used to cover all such possibilities.
Well, I'm going to have to take what may sound like a cop out here, but I do believe we have good illustration of the differences between our two forms of English here.
If the plate is going in a line, I would never think of saying anything other than "The plate was passed down the line."
Does it not reach all the people in the circle? "The plate was passed among a few of the people at the table."
And, "Switzerland has borders with ....." "The treaty was signed by...."
This is not to say that any of the sentences from Audiendus is wrong, just that my Amerispeak doesn't include them wholeheartedly. I can see how they can work, but I couldn't use them myself.
The same goes for many of Enigma's proposals in other posts here in the Grammar forum.
Let's face it, my spell-checker doesn't like Audiendus' double l in traveled.
Apologies for the Audiensus earlier, by the way.