Monday, November 5, 2012

Among vs. Amongst

Among all the words in the English language, some have variances.  Among can also be used as amongst, although it's usage varies amongst English speaking countries.  Among is commonly used in American English, while amongst is sometimes used in British, Australian, or Canadian English.  However, among is the universally accepted frontrunner.

Among, as well as amongst, are prepositions.  Among means in or through the midst of, amongst several other meanings.  Among also means:  

1 - surrounded by <hidden among the trees>
2 - in company or association with <living among artists>
3 - by or through the aggregate of <discontent among the poor>
4 - in the number or class of <wittiest among poets> <among other things she was president of her college class>
5 - in shares to each of <divided among the heirs>
6a - through the reciprocal acts of <quarrel among themselves>
6b - through the joint action of <made a fortune among themselves>
So should we use among or amongst?  Keep in mind, among is more frequently used and accepted than amongstAmong other things, remember who your audience is.  However, if you choose to use amongst, there may be discontent amongst some grammarians.  Yet the most important rule of thumb is to be consistent.  Among and amongst, although interchangeable, do not appear agreeable when dually used in books, articles, or even blog posts such as this one. 

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