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Among vs. Amongst

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  Marius Alza  —  Grammar Tips
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Amongst" is obviously formed by adding the suffix "-st" to the preposition "among". But you have probably always seen both of these terms used in the same context, just like they mean the same. Then why are they different? Is there something you didn't know yet about these two words?

If you ever find yourself thinking whether you should use "among" or "amongst" in a context and you are worried about confusing them, then this article will be the perfect explanation for you!

Among vs. Amongst

A few theories claim that "among" is more commonly used in American English, while British English tends to prefer "amongst" as a tradition from a past period of the English vocabulary evolution, when the suffixes "-s" and "-st" were added to several words, mostly to obtain new adverbs such as "whilst" from "while".

Yet, there are no official statistics to support these suppositions. Actually, notorious dictionaries officially accept both forms, with no reference to British or American, explaining they have the same meaning regardless of the form used. That meaning is "in the middle of", "in a particular group" etc.

When do we use "among"?

By using "among", you can refer to a place, a large/specific group or a single person from a group.

Example 1: She lost her bracelet among all those watches. - it is used with the meaning of "in the middle of", referring to a specific place.

Example 2: The managers will make their decision public among the employees of the company. - here, "among" is referring to a group.

Example 3: He is one of the most talented artists among the modern painters. - used to refer to a single person from a certain group.

When do we use "amongst"?

Despite the rumors, there is no rule to tell you should use this version in British English. You can comfortably use both "among" and "amongst" in all the examples provided above. In addition, you can also use "amongst" to express an action in a group, "between each other".

Example: Share this amongst your group, please. - refers to the action of sharing between the members of the group, between each other.

Conclusion

There is no rule to restrict the way you should use "among" or "amongst". Both forms are officially accepted and express the same message. Therefore simply go for the one that sounds better for you in the context where you are using it.

Among vs. Amongst

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