Among vs. Amongst. What’s the Difference?

Visual comparison and definitions of words "among" and "amongst".

Introduction

English grammar can be a tricky thing to master, especially when it comes to the nuances between words. “Among” and “amongst,” for example, are two words that often confuse even the most experienced writers and teachers. Mastering the difference between these two words is easier than many people think. This article will explain the meaning a provide examples, common mistakes, and resources to help better understand the similarities and differences between them.
 

American English ESL Lesson Plan

The Definition of “Among” and “Amongst”

The words “among” and “amongst” are both used as prepositions, meaning they describe the relationship between two or more things. They are both grammatically correct and have similar meanings. They both mean "in the midst of" or "in the company of," but there is a slight difference in their usage.

“Among” is used in American English and can be used in any context, while “amongst” is used in British English and is considered a bit more formal. This means that when writing in American English, “among” should be used, and when writing in British English, “amongst” should be used.

Differences between Among and Amongst

Among           

Amongst

Commonly used in American English

Commonly used in British English

It can be used in any context

Considered a bit formal and archaic

Same meaning as amongst

Same meaning as among

 

Examples of “Among” and “Amongst” in Sentences

To better understand the usage of among and amongst, here are some examples of how they can be used in sentences:

  • “The teacher distributed the books among the students.”
  • “The students were amongst friends as they studied for the test.”
  • “We divided the pizza among ourselves.”
  • “They were amongst the first to arrive at the party.”

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using “Among” and “Amongst”

As with any grammar rule, there are some common mistakes to avoid when using among and amongst. Here are some of the most common errors:

  • Using the wrong word for the type of English you are writing in. For example, using "amongst" in American English.
  • Confusing the words with other prepositions such as "amid" and "amidst."
  • Misusing the words in the wrong context. For example, using "among" when talking about a single person or thing (unless it is a singular collective noun such as “crowd.”
 

Useful Resources for Learning about “Among” and “Amongst”

To master the difference between “among” and “amongst,” there are plenty of online resources that can help. Here are some of the best:

  • AmeriLinuga: AmeriLingua provides plenty of high-quality, video-based online resources for ESL teachers and learners.
  • Merriam-Webster: Merriam-Webster offers an in-depth definition of each word and examples of usage.
  • Oxford Dictionaries: Oxford Dictionaries offers a comprehensive guide to the difference between “among” and “amongst.”
  • English Grammar 101: English Grammar 101 has an article that explains the difference in detail.

Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding the difference between “among” and “amongst” can help to express oneself more clearly and accurately. It is essential to recognize the subtle differences between the two words and use them in the appropriate context. With practice and patience, it will be possible to use these two words with ease and confidence.

Date: February 5th, 2023

Author: Research Team AmeriLinuga


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