Treatment of “between”


DIMAP/NODE contains 12 preposition senses for between; ODE contains only 9. In essence, ODE has swallowed up subsenses that made somewhat fine-grained distinctions into the main numbered sense: three subsenses of sense 1 are all absorbed into the main sense — which is by far the most frequent in FrameNet. Curiously, the other sense (4 in ODE and NODE) that has several fine-grained subsenses is preserved intact in ODE. I have followed ODE’s sense numbering.


Notes from the spreadsheet:

No new senses were added. This preposition is quite straightforward.


Other instances of between that may deserve idiomatic treatment:

Both the phrases in ODE can be slotted into existing senses: between ourselves/you and me is 4(4). This phrase is usually used as a sentence modifier. Between times is sense 2(2).



Other Notes:

Between has a more predictable complement pattern than most other prepositions owing to its meaning. The complement is inevitably (1) a plural noun, which usually indicates that the betweeness intervenes in things that are alike or the same, or (2) the complement is twofold, joined by “and,” which usually indicates that the betweeness either separates two things that are not alike, or points up the the common element activity for two things that are not alike or identical.


FrameNet shows no examples for ODE’s last two senses of between, both of which typically have an anaphoric preposition as their complement. Both senses are fairly common, and it would be interesting to know what FrameNet did with sentences that contain such constructions.