By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated, November 25, 2013)
Use amid with nonquantifiable items (amid the forest), use among for three or more items (among his colleagues), and between when there are two people or items (between John and Jane).
You can also use between with more than two things provided that they represent distinct individual items:
He had to choose between rice, baked potatoes, and pasta.
However, if the choices are not distinct, use among:
He had to choose among the side dishes.
Among is also used to indicate membership in a group (or exclusion from it):
Zelda was among the top finishers in the lawnmower race.
Whittacker was not among those arrested during the pudding riot.
Janey was the strongest among the six candidates competing for the ice cream taster job.
Willy was among the first to finish the exam because he drew a brontosaurus in a ball gown on his answer sheet rather than attempting to answer the questions.
When referring to location, use between when someone or something is directly between two things and among when they are just somewhere in the area with multiple things:
Vlad stood between the two werewolves. (The werewolves stood on either side of him, and he was in the middle).
Vlad stood among the werewolves. (He stood with a group of werewolves his physical position within the group is not specified).
If the person is in motion, between and among can indicate his or her path:
Eleanor walked between the rows of parked cars looking for her lost chicken. (There were at least two rows of cars, and she walked in the space between them.)
Eleanor walked among the parked cars looking for her lost chicken. (Eleanor might have been weaving in and out through the parked cars rather than moving forward; no indication of her direction is given and the cars are not necessarily in neat rows.)
Amid means surrounded by, in the middle of, or during:
Courtenay sat amid the trees writing poetry about badgers.
Butch walked amid the crowd singing show tunes and tossing glitter.
Walter became disoriented amid the shouting and chaos of the Porcupine Festival.
Amongst and amidst mean the same as among and amid. However, although these forms are still used in the UK, they are considered archaic and excessively formal (or even pretentious) in North America.