Among vs Amongst
The difference between among and amongst has nothing to do with their meanings and connotations, rather this difference lies in their usage. Among and amongst actually have the same meaning. Then, you might wonder why there are two words for the same meaning. It is because a language develops and changes with time. Sometimes when this changes take place they create new words for the same meaning, different meanings for the words that already exist and also new words with new meanings. From the two words, among is the one that was first formed. Amongst appeared later on in the language. Both words are used in the sense of ‘surrounded by, included in, jointly and between.’
What does Among mean?
Now, since both among and amongst mean the same let us see how among gives out its different meaning. The word among is used in the sense of ‘surrounded by’ as in the sentences given below:
He found himself among lions.
She was among her friends.
In both the sentences, you can find that the word among is used in the sense of ‘surrounded by’ and hence, the meaning of the first sentence would be ‘he found himself surrounded by lions’, and the meaning of the second sentence would be ‘she was surrounded by her friends’. Now, take a look at the following sentences too:
A baby was among the murdered.
Toby was among the suspects.
You will have to make the selections among yourselves.
They had to share the cake among themselves.
If you look at the sentences given above, among is used in different senses. In the first two sentences among means ‘included in.’ In the third sentence, among means ‘jointly’ and in the fourth sentence among means ‘between .’ However, you should remember that among is used instead of between when you are referring to more than two people or things.The important fact to remember here is each of these sentences can be rewritten with amongst with no change in the meaning.
When you look at the usage of among, according to the Oxford English dictionary among is more common that amongst. Also, when we consider how often among is used in American English, it is likely to occur more than twice as likely in American English than British English.
What does Amongst mean?
The meaning of amongst is as same as among. However, as discussed earlier, usage of amongst is different from that of among. Amongst is very rarely used in American English as they prefer among than amongst. However, compared to that British English uses amongst more. By now, amongst has even become an old fashioned term that is even considered pretentious. So, do not use amongst if you are an American English speaker.
What is the difference between Among and Amongst?
• Among and amongst are prepositions that mean the same.
• Among and amongst mean ‘surrounded by, included in, jointly and between.’
• Among is far more common than amongst.
• Among is used more in American English than in British English.
• Americans prefer to use among.
• British use both among and amongst.
• Americans think amongst is old fashioned and even pretentious.