- Among and amongst mean “surrounded by/in the middle of somebody/something,” “in company or association with,” or “occurring in or practiced by.”
- Both among and amongst can also be used when “indicating a division or choice among three parties or more.”
- Among is the favored variation in American and British English.
- ○They couldn’t believe they were among some of the most popular musicians in the world.
- ○We learned to divide the goodies we baked evenly among the neighborhood kids.
“Among” vs. “Amongst”: Origin
At first glance, it may seem like amongst is the older form of these two words, but among actually appeared first in the English language. Among dates back to Old English, while amongst emerged in Middle English.
Both these words are prepositions, meaning they connect nouns and pronouns to other information in a sentence.
Among and amongst can be defined as follows:
1. “Surrounded by” or “in the middle of somebody/something”
I found the kitten among the bushes.
I found the kitten amongst the bushes.
2. “In company or association with”
We were included among the best chefs in the state.
We were included amongst the best chefs in the state.
3. “Occurring in or practiced by”
It was a popular practice among the monks.
It was a popular practice amongst the monks.
Both among and amongst can be used when dividing objects between three or more participants.
Carly, Tristan, and Michael split the bill among themselves.
Carly, Tristan, and Michael split the bill amongst themselves.
Should You Use “Among” or “Amongst”?
Now that you know what these words mean, the question remains: Is there one you should use over the other? Among is more popular in both American English and British English. However, while amongst is considered acceptable in British English, it can be considered old-fashioned or even pretentious in American English. Your best bet is to use among.
LanguageTool: A Gem Among Stones
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