Difference Between ‘Among’ and ‘Amongst’

Among vs. Amongst

What is the difference between ‘Among’ and ‘Amongst’? Do these two words mean the same thing or is there a difference between them?

The answer to the question above is a very simple one – there is no difference between ‘among’ and ‘amongst’. The two words mean the same and can be used interchangeable.

Among and Amongst are both prepositions.

The Longman English Dictionary defines among as ‘in or through the midst or middle of a group of people or things.’

Among/Amongst can also be defined as being with a particular group of people or things.

For example:

  • The thief snatched my bag and quickly disappeared among/amongst the crowd.
  • John searched for his socks among/amongst the pile of clothes in the basket.
  • Someone is hiding among/amongst the bushes.
  • I don’t feel safe because I am among/amongst my enemies.
  • Among/amongst all the boys in the class, John is the most intelligent.
  • Relax, for you are among/amongst friends.

As you can see from the examples above, both ‘among’ and ‘amongst’ can be used interchangeably.

In the United Kingdom or in the British English, ‘amongst’ is quite common, and sometimes is chosen over ‘among’.

But in the United States or in American English, speakers and writers always go in for ‘among’ instead of ‘amongst’. ‘Amongst’ is rarely used in the United States.

All in all about 90 percent of English speakers and writers all over the world will go in for ‘among’ instead of ‘amongst’. Take someone like myself for instance, I use ‘among’ more often than I use its variation ‘amongst’. The reason simply is because I prefer ‘among’ to ‘amongst’. And I guess I’m not the only one who prefers it. You probably prefer it too.

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Longman English Dictionary