Inbetween, In Between, In-Between, or just Between

When you’re about to write or say in between, ask yourself what it would sound like if you put between instead of in between.

Valentina Dordevic
Valentina Dordevic

In case you’re not interested in grammar definitions and you don’t care about prepositions, adjectives, adverbial phrases, and similar stuff, here’s a simple rule that you can use whenever you have a dilemma.

When you’re about to write or say in between, ask yourself what it would sound like if you put between instead of in between. If you can use between, then that’s it; you shouldn’t be using in between.

Read on to find out the rules about this and other uses of (in) between.

Inbetween or in between?

The most striking difference between inbetween and in between is that inbetween is not a word. It’s just an incorrect spelling of in between or in-between. But that doesn’t mean that it’s always correct to say or write in between. Most often, it’s not.

Let’s look at a couple of examples.

Their house is placed (in) between the elementary school and a pharmacy.

This sentence may sound natural, and many people use in between in sentences like this one. We’ve all seen news headlines that use in between similarly. But that doesn’t mean that it’s correct to use in between instead of between.

Here’s an example newspaper headline:

Puppy Stuck In Between Truck and House

While in between may add some drama to this headline, the only correct way to say this would be:

Puppy Stuck Between Truck and House

When to use “in between”?

We’ve seen that we shouldn’t use in between instead of between. Now, let’s see when to use it. We’ll have a look at a few more fresh news headlines.

Giants fall to Washington: Winners, losers, and those in between

GO trains to run between London and Toronto with stops in between

In these headlines, in between is used as an adverbial phrase, so it can’t be substituted with between (a preposition). In between here has the meaning similar to between them.

When to use “In-Between”?

In-between is also correct to say and write, but don’t get confused. In-between is neither a preposition nor an adverbial phrase. It’s an adjective – or a noun. Let’s see examples.

Born in the US, living in East Asia, she feels like an in-between that doesn’t really belong to any of these cultures.

New college year, new excitement: Standing in the in-between

In the sentence above, in-between is a noun. In the next example, it’s an adjective.

'Shackets' are an in-between season staple - here's one for every budget

In-between as a noun or adjective isn’t nearly as common as between or in between, but we had to mention it to avoid confusion.

Between vs. Inbetween: the verdict

No doubts about this. If you’d like to choose between between and inbetween, the only correct option is between.

EnglishWhich is correct

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