‘Among’ or ‘amongst’?

Among is the earlier word of this pair: according to the Oxford English Dictionary, it first appeared in Old English. The variant form, amongst, is a later development, coming along in the Middle English period. With regard to their meanings, there’s no difference between among and amongst. They’re both prepositions which mean:

  • situated in the middle of a group of people or things:

We saw a factory tucked in among the houses.

Dad has agreed to cook and that frees me up to mingle amongst my guests.

  • belonging to or happening within a group:

These companies were among those to indicate lower earnings.

I was amongst the last to leave.

  • indicating a division or choice between three or more people or things:

The grant will be divided among the six participating institutions.

It certainly did not mean that this income is shared out equally amongst the population.

You can find out more about among and amongst on the Oxford Dictionaries blog, as well as a breakdown of the differing levels of usage for the two words.

Back to usage.

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Grammar and usage