Among vs Amongst: Understanding the Differences

By Strategically AI. Reviewed by Rebecca Hey.
Updated February 7, 2024
2 minute read
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In the labyrinth of English grammar, certain words often appear interchangeable yet subtly differ in their usage. One such pair is "among" and "amongst." This article aims to elucidate the disparities between these two terms, shedding light on when and how each should be appropriately employed.

Unraveling "Among"

Among: "Among" is a preposition used to denote being surrounded by, in the midst of, or within a group or collection of people or things. It implies a sense of inclusivity or dispersion within a larger entity.

Example:

  • She found her keys among the clutter on the table.

Understanding "Amongst"

Amongst: Similarly, "amongst" functions as a preposition conveying the same idea as "among." However, it is less commonly used in American English compared to British English. Some consider "amongst" to have a more formal or archaic tone, though this distinction varies regionally.

Example:

  • The old book was hidden amongst the newer ones on the shelf.

Clarifying the Differences with Examples

Among:

  • The hikers walked among the towering trees in the forest.

Amongst:

  • The antique vase was discovered amongst the various artifacts in the museum.

Conclusion

While "among" and "amongst" share a similar meaning and usage, the choice between them often boils down to stylistic preferences and regional conventions. In American English, "among" is more prevalent, while "amongst" finds greater acceptance in British English. Regardless of the preference, both terms serve the purpose of indicating inclusion or dispersion within a group or collection.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does "among" mean?

"Among" is a preposition used to convey the idea of being surrounded by, in the midst of, or within a group or collection of people or things.

Is "amongst" a formal word?

While "amongst" is considered more formal or archaic in some contexts, its usage varies based on regional conventions and stylistic preferences.

Can "amongst" and "among" be used interchangeably?

Yes, in many cases, "amongst" and "among" can be used interchangeably to convey the same meaning of being within a group or collection.

Which version is more common in American English?

In American English, "among" is more commonly used compared to "amongst."

Are there any regional preferences for using "amongst"?

Yes, "amongst" is more prevalent in British English and may be considered more formal or literary in certain contexts.

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Rebecca Hey
Founder of Strategically.co, we’ve created over 10 million words of impactful content, driving organic traffic growth for more than 300 businesses.
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