between inclusive

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Tue Jun 4 17:04:35 UTC 2013

Yes, although we might not agree on the judgments, I think it's clear that the definition of "between" needs to be rewritten to allow the possibility of including the endpoints. I would say that the dollars and patients examples are both inclusive.

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA

On Jun 4, 2013, at 6:58 AM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> If you asked me to pick a number between 1 and 10, I would find that
> unclear -- are 1 and 10 possible picks?
> If you asked me to pick a number from 1 to 10, I would know exactly what
> you mean.
> In other contexts, however, I would have to make a judgment based on
> specificity. Your "somewhere between 40 and 50 dollars" is not the same as
> "patients between the age of 40 and 50".
> DanG
> On Tue, Jun 4, 2013 at 5:13 AM, Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at>wrote:
>> The OED says about "between": Of the relation of a number, quantity,
>> degree, or quality to two others above and below it, or differing from it
>> in opposite ways; Intermediate to.
>> One of the cites is:
>> Between five and six miles from the city.
>> If I emphasize the words "between," "five" and "six" just right, I think I
>> can make it not include five or six, but generally speaking, I don't think
>> that's the case.
>> Wiktionary has the same issue:
>> In the position or interval that separates (two things), or intermediate
>> in quantity or degree.
>> This works fine for the following sample sentence:
>> 1. John stood between Amy and Mary.
>> but less well for 2 and very poorly for 3:
>> 2. Let's meet between two and three.
>> 3. I want to buy one that costs somewhere between forty and fifty dollars.
>> My concern is not merely petty pedantry: I just got called on this very
>> issue by my Japanese client who thought my use of "between" was
>> inappropriate as a translation of Japanese copy which is inclusive. I
>> explained that while the OED agrees with her, I had to nevertheless
>> disagree.

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