Among vs. Amongst
One of our readers, Tania Botha asked:
“When (if ever) must one use “amongst” – I systematically use “among” in my own writing and change it when editing other people’s texts, because “amongst” seems so old-fashioned. Is there a rule?”
You can use among and amongst interchangeably, but as Tania pointed out, among is more common in modern writing.
From Dr Grammar’s FAQs “Both are correct and mean the same, but among is more common.”
Some people try to distinguish between the two, but this really is a case when either word is valid. I’d recommend choosing whichever fits your piece of writing best: if you’re writing a fantasy story, or a piece of historical fiction, you might want:
- “As Tarquin stood amongst the great trees of the dark forest…”
But if you’re writing a news or feature article, you’ll probably go for:
- “If you’re among one of the biggest groups in society…”
- “Living among the Bush people taught me a lot…”
So yes, amongst does seem old-fashioned – but it’s still grammatically correct as an alternative to among. It’s up to you to select which you prefer!
Editor’s note: We had already touched on this issue in the past with the article Among/Amongst: Is there a Difference?.
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