Is there a difference between ‘among’ and ‘amongst’?  

by Arushi Gupta

One common point of confusion in the English language is the use of “among” and “amongst.” Here’s a blog that will explore the difference between among and amongst along with providing examples to help clarify their use. 

‘Amongst’ definition

“Amongst” is a preposition used to indicate that something is part of a larger group or collection. It is a less common variant of the word “among.” It is considered an archaic or formal version of the word, and its use is generally limited to specific contexts. It is more appropriate to make the use of “amongst” in legal documents or historical texts. It may also be used in certain artistic or literary contexts where a more formal or poetic tone is desired. For example:

  • The archaeological site contained a treasure trove of artifacts amongst the ruins. 
  • The legal document listed a number of restrictions amongst the terms of the contract. 
  • The poet drew inspiration from the natural beauty amongst the rolling hills. 

‘Among’ definition

“Among”, similar to amongst, is a preposition used to indicate that something is part of a larger group or collection. It is a more commonly used variant of “amongst” and is generally considered more appropriate for everyday language.  Here are some examples:

  • Among the top ten causes of death worldwide, heart disease is the leading cause. 
  • The study found that among the sample population, men were more likely to report higher levels of physical activity. 
  • The book was hidden among the pile of papers on the desk. 

‘Among’ meaning = ‘Amongst’ meaning

The meaning of “amongst” is the same as “among.” Both words refer to the idea of being in the middle of or surrounded by a group of people or things. For example,  

“The researcher was among the group of scientists working on the project.” 

Difference between ‘among’ and ‘amongst’ with examples

The primary difference between “among” and “amongst” is one of formality. “Among” is the more commonly used word, and it is considered more appropriate for use in everyday language. “Amongst,” on the other hand, is generally considered to be more formal or archaic. 

For example, a researcher might write: 

  • Among the participants in the study, 25% reported experiencing anxiety. 
  • Amongst the participants in the study, 25% reported experiencing anxiety. 

Both of these sentences are grammatically correct, but the first sentence is more commonly used in everyday language, while the second sentence may sound more formal. 

Pro-Tip: As a general rule, it is a good idea to use “among” unless you are specifically aiming for a more formal or archaic tone in your writing. In academic writing, for example, you may want to check with your professor or follow the guidelines of the journal you are submitting to regarding the use of “among” versus “amongst”. 

As a researcher, it is vital to know the nuanced usage of such words to convey your ideas accurately.   

Wait, there are more such confusing words!

Just like among vs. amongst, there are many more words that are often a subject of ambiguity in researchers’ lives. Here’s a list if you might want to take a look: 

Week vs. weak 

Inter vs. intra 

Continually vs. continuously 

Adopt vs. adapt 

Ambiguous vs. ambivalent 

Happy Reading!

You may also like