Hello In a computer program, the user should be asked to enter a number between 1 and 20. The number can be 1 or 20 but can't be lesser than 1 or greater than 20. How should I construct the sentence? 1- ) Enter a number between 1 and 20 inclusive. or 2- ) Enter a number between 0 and 21. or 3- ) Enter a number between 1 inclusive and 20 inclusive. Many thanks

"Enter a number between 1 and 20". I understand this to mean that 1 and 20 are numbers that can be entered. If you are dealing with dimwit computer users, than your 3rd option may be necessary.

1) This seems clear and unambiguous to me. 2) I would interpret this as including both 0 and 21 as possible options. 3) This sounds odd: I don't think a number (1) or (20) on its own can be "inclusive" Would "Enter any number from 1 to 20" work any better?

I would understand it thus as well. But you could be really pedantic and say that between means between. The 3rd option is not correct English. You would need no. 1.

... from 1 to 20 is definitely a better option. Enter a number greater than 0 and less than 21 would seem totally unambiguous to me.

Unless this is in a mathematical context, I have a preference for whole numbers. Integer just seems a smidgeon more technical!

I don't think it's a matter of being pedantic, but of recognising that some readers will assume (not incorrectly) that between means between, while others will take it to mean between or equal to. (Someone in the former group, if asked to sit between John and Mary, wouldn't try sitting on John's lap! Equally, they would probably assume that entering 1 or 20 is not an option.) So, to avoid any ambiguity, I'd go with JS's, Donny's and SwissPete's suggestion: "from 1 to 20". If you still had doubts that that's clear enough, you could always put "from 1 to 20 inclusive". Ws

<<Threads merged>> A few days ago, I had a discussion with a colleague who believes that between is exclusive. For example: Between 100 and 200 people were in attendance. My colleague believes that from 101 - 199 people were present. I disagree with him because I believe that between is inclusive, which means that 100 and 200 are included in my example.

I would agree with your colleague. "Between" in English does not include the endpoints. Suppose we have a photograph of ten people. Andrew is on the left, Joanne on the right. If I were to ask "How many people are between Andrew and Joanne?" the correct answer would be eight, not ten. The phrase "between Andrew and Joanne" does not include either of those two people. In the specific case of your example, though, 100 and 200 would be taken as approximate numbers, not exact ones, and the statement would be taken as an estimate, not a count. With an approximate estimate, it is even possible that the exact number is 97 or 202.

Technically, I think your colleague is right. In practice, when someone is giving such a rough estimate it is absurd to expect that the two extremes are so well defined. Rather, when I hear 'between 100 and 200', I expect the average and do not really care if it is 101 or 100. Of course, when your mechanic tells you your car repair will cost you something between $150 and $200, you can rest assured that $200 is the absolute minimum he will charge you.

Thanks. How about this example? Choose a number between two and four. If we exclude two and four, that leaves us with three. What do you think?

If we restrict the selection to integers (whole numbers), there is only one such number between two and four. That number is, as you say, three. If fractions are allowed - as the word "number" usually allows - then any number from 2.0000000...0000001 to 3.9999999999...9999999 is acceptable, excluding the endpoints of 2 and 4.

Another illustration of Egmont's "between Andrew and Joanne" example is the situation I mentioned earlier (in the original thread). If you were asked to sit between John and Mary, I don't imagine you'd try sitting on John's lap! I agree with Egmont. If it's an integer, the only possible answer is 'three'. Between means between. It doesn't mean 'between or equal to'. (If it did, it would then mean 'between or equal to or equal to', which in turn would mean 'between or equal to or equal to or equal to', etc, etc ). My advice remains the same as in the original thread: ... so in your case, epistolario, it would be "Choose a number from 2 to 4". Ws

Those two words each make sense separately, Giorgio, but the phrase isn't idiomatic. If you need to emphasise that it's inclusive, the normal expression is "... from 2 to 4 inclusive". Ws