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a. Between John and Harry, there are two people who say that they have seen you in Jeff's apartment on the night of the murder.
b. Between John, Pete and Harry, there are three people who say that they have seen you in Jeff's apartment on the night of the murder.


In (a) the two people are John and Harry. In (b) the three people are John, Harry and Pete.

Are (a) and (b) grammatically correct with those meanings?
Is that usage of 'between' legitimate?
Is it slang?

Many thanks.

Original Post

Hi, Azz,

In Webster's Third International Dictionary (unabridged), I read under between:

1a : involving the reciprocal action of : involving as participants : jointly engaging <the job was completed between the two of them>

I think your sentences:

@azz posted:

a. Between John and Harry, there are two people who say that they have seen you in Jeff's apartment on the night of the murder.
b. Between John, Pete and Harry, there are three people who say that they have seen you in Jeff's apartment on the night of the murder.


In (a) the two people are John and Harry. In (b) the three people are John, Harry and Pete.

work in much the same way as the one from the dictionary:

- The job was completed involving the two of them as participants.

Involving John and Harry as participants, there are two people who say ...
Involving John, Pete and Harry as participants, there are three people who say ...

Do you agree, David? Does OED say anything more specific, such as mentioning that "between" can mean "including"?

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