Among vs Amongst: Difference and Comparison

“Among” and “amongst” are both prepositions used to indicate being surrounded by, included in, or in the midst of something. While “among” is more commonly used in American English, “amongst” is frequently employed in British English.

Key Takeaways

  1. Among and amongst are both prepositions that mean “in the middle of” or “surrounded by.”
  2. Among is more commonly used in modern English, while amongst is most widely used in British English.
  3. Among is considered more formal, while amongst is considered more archaic.

Among vs Amongst

The difference between among and amongst is that among is the older version and is commonly practised in the United States. Whereas, amongst is the young ones that people of Britain tend to use and follow in their slang. Among traces back to old English, which is traditional, whereas the roots of Amongst are fresh and new, rooting to Modern English.

Among vs Amongst

During this period, English scholars started adding sound and tone to the language and making adverbs.

Both the terms are English propositions and could mean any of the following i.e.

  1. With the whole of or completely.
  2. A group of or mutually agreed to things.
  3. Into something or surrounded by someone.
  4. Amid things or places.
  5. In the class or group of people, place or things in place.

Now I hope you all will be able to answer the following question quickly;

Is it Among or Amongst?

Since you all learned the fundamental difference between Among and Amongst, now it is time for you to learn the implications and usage of both terms.

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Comparison Table

FeatureAmongAmongst
MeaningBoth mean “in the midst of” or “surrounded by”
UsageMore common, especially in American EnglishLess common, considered more formal or archaic
FormalityMore casualMore formal
Examples* The treasure was hidden among the ruins. * She sat among her friends.* They were amongst the first to arrive. * The debate raged amongst scholars.

What is ‘Among’ and When to Use ‘Among’?

“Among” is a preposition in English used to denote being surrounded by, included in, or in the midst of something. It indicates the relationship of one thing with a group or set of things, emphasizing interaction or dispersion within that group.

Usage Examples

  1. Spatial Relations: “She found her keys among the clutter on the desk.”
  2. Distribution: “The prize was shared among the three winners.”
  3. Association: “He felt at home among his colleagues.”
  4. Comparison: “She stood out among the crowd due to her distinctive attire.”

Characteristics of “Among”

  • Common Usage: Widely used in both formal and informal contexts.
  • American English Preference: Predominantly used in American English over “amongst”.
  • Simplicity: Often preferred for its simplicity and directness.
  • Versatility: Can be employed in various contexts to indicate relationships within a group or set.

Tips for Usage

  • Clarity: Use “among” to denote dispersion or association within a group.
  • Consistency: Maintain consistency in usage within a piece of writing or conversation.
  • Formality: Generally considered less formal than “amongst” in British English.
among 1

What is ‘Amongst’ and When to Use ‘Amongst’?

“Amongst” is a variant of the preposition “among” commonly used in British English. It serves the same purpose as “among,” indicating being surrounded by, included in, or in the midst of something. While “amongst” is often perceived as more formal or archaic, it is interchangeable with “among” in most contexts.

Usage Examples

  1. Literary or Formal Contexts: “She found herself amongst the elite of society.”
  2. Traditional or Poetic Language: “Amongst the shadows of the ancient forest, they found solace.”
  3. British English: “The book was hidden amongst the others on the shelf.”
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Characteristics of “Amongst”

  • British English Usage: Predominantly used in British English, although understood in other English-speaking regions.
  • Formality: Can lend a slightly more formal or literary tone to writing or speech.
  • Interchangeability: Interchangeable with “among” in most contexts, with personal preference often dictating usage.
  • Historical Context: Reflects older usage patterns and may appear more archaic in contemporary writing.

Tips for Usage

  • Regional Consideration: Consider the audience and context when choosing between “amongst” and “among,” especially in international communication.
  • Tone and Style: Use “amongst” to evoke a more formal or poetic tone if desired.
  • Variety: Incorporate both “amongst” and “among” in writing to add variety and richness to language.
amongst

Main Differences Between Among and Amongst

  • Regional Preference:
    • “Among” is more commonly used in American English.
    • “Amongst” is prevalent in British English.
  • Formality:
    • “Among” is generally considered less formal.
    • “Amongst” can lend a slightly more formal or literary tone.
  • Usage Patterns:
    • “Among” is the standard choice in modern English.
    • “Amongst” may be perceived as archaic or poetic in some contexts.
  • Interchangeability:
    • Both are interchangeable in most contexts.
    • “Among” is more versatile and widely accepted globally.
Difference Between Among and Amongst
References
  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/among
  2. https://www.yourdictionary.com/amongst

Last Updated : 06 March, 2024

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25 thoughts on “Among vs Amongst: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The comparison you’ve made here between ‘among’ and ‘amongst’ is very helpful to clear the misconception. It really helps me to make the right choice between them.

    Reply
    • Thank you for this valuable information about these terms. I’ve always wondered when to use ‘among’ and ‘amongst’

      Reply

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