Choosing Between

When presenting two options or choices, use the conjunction “or” between them.


The summer intern was given the option to choose a field job or an office job.

After giving this advice, a member of the Peanut Gallery named Jenny asked:

“When you choose, you choose this or that, but when you choose between things, do you choose between this and that?”

Good question, Jenny!

I looked it up, and standard usage is: “between this and that,” although “between this or that” is sometimes used, but not preferred.

Here is the rule:

“Between” should be followed by a plural noun or pronoun, or by nouns and/or pronouns joined by “and.”

–       Courtesy of


He is choosing between two jobs right now. (plural noun)

He is having a hard time choosing between them. (plural pronoun)

He has to choose between a field job and an office job. (nouns joined by “and”)

Then the boss will have to choose between him and me. (pronouns joined by “and”)

Note: Pronouns after the preposition “between” should be objective case (me, him, her, us, them), not subjective case (I, he, she, we, they).

“Choosing this or that” is the way to go when presenting two mutually exclusive, individual options (chocolate or vanilla); whereas “choosing between this and that” may suggest a range of values, with your choice somewhere in between the two endpoints.


She had to choose something between chemistry and physics, possibly physical chemistry.


Profound Quote of the Day:

“Wisdom is the knowledge of good and evil, not the strength to choose between the two.”

– John Cheever, American author, 1912-1982, winner of the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction


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