Can we say in between if we are in the middle of an action? For example:

The doctor told me not to eat anything after midnight. In the morning I accidentally ate a seed and recalled as I was in between [eating].


2 Answers 2


OP's usage would always be wrong. In a time-based context, you can only be "in between" two different things. As Jeremy says, you can be in between jobs/relationships, because this places you between the previous job/relationship, and the (possibly hypothetical) future one.

For a single instance of an activity that lasts long enough to speak of some particular moment while it's still ongoing, you can say you're in the middle of [eating].

As an aside, recall is more often used for making a specific effort to recollect some past memory or knowledge. In OP's context, remembered or perhaps realised would be more likely.

  • 1
    Thanks. How about these two: "I remembered as I was in the middle of eating and had to spit it out" Or : "I remembered as I was in the middle of eating and had to throw it out"
    – Noah
    Mar 31, 2012 at 4:26
  • @Noah: Yes - that would be a perfectly natural way of putting it. For just "a seed" (a bit unlikely anyway) I suppose it would all be in your mouth, so you'd say "spit it out". For something bigger that you wouldn't keep for later (like fried egg on toast), you'd more likely "throw it out". Also, it would be quite common to shorten the construction to just "I remembered in the middle of eating, and had to throw it out". Mar 31, 2012 at 14:07
  • Does the 'throw it out' part implies throwing it out from the mouth or trashing it? The spitting seems to be clear as it's spitting out from the mouth.
    – Noah
    Apr 1, 2012 at 1:49
  • @Noah: You don't throw things out of your mouth, because throwing is an action done with your hands and arms, not mouth and tongue. If you throw [something edible] out, it normally means you put in in the wastebin (using hands/arms). Apr 1, 2012 at 2:18
  • I see. But we can say that I threw up my breakfast, right(which I think means vomiting)? Is there any other word for throwing out things using tongue and mouth besides spitting?
    – Noah
    Apr 1, 2012 at 3:58

In general, you don't say that. For example, you might say you are "in between jobs" or "in between relationships", but you wouldn't say you're "in between working" or "in between dating". Even then, this isn't a terribly common phrase, but you would use it with nouns.

Also, your last sentence doesn't really work. Is it just part of a sentence? Or do you need to move some words around? Maybe you just meant "I recoiled" rather than "I recalled".

A better way to put it would be:

In the morning I ate a seed before remembering that I was meant to be fasting.

Fasting means "refusing to eat for some period of time."


In the morning I ate a seed even though I wasn't supposed to eat anything.

  • "In between meals" is perfectly fine, but "in between eating" sounds funny. Mar 31, 2012 at 14:17
  • @PeterShor "In between meals" doesn't imply this state of purposefully trying not to eat, though.
    – Jeremy
    Apr 1, 2012 at 2:56
  • @PeterShor- I know mine one does seem funny. But Google Books seem to be spitting out a lot of results, using it a little differently:1.) In between eating, I keep yawning 2.) In between eating they exchanged remarks with the proprietor of the Paris Hotel
    – Noah
    Apr 1, 2012 at 4:08

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