English Vocabulary

among & amongst

Could some of you make things clear for me about this preposition, what difference you make between among and amongst ? Furthermore, I learnt not very long ago the word "amid", which seems to be synonym. And today, what a surprise, I discovered that there was "amidst" too. Can we use each of them indifferently ? And does the suffix "st" in amongst and amidst have a common meaning, or role ?


  • To my mind, Pimpanella, among and amongst - amid and amidst are perfect synonyms. The variation of the word comes from its course in the history of the langange. For instance: My dictionaries say that amid was 'amiddes' in the Middle English (betwen the High and Late Middle Ages). Among(st) comes from "on + gemonge" (gemong = crowd). I presume that the word evolved over the years due to the laziness of people. I wonder whether the words with -st are not nowadays more formal (???).
  • Aha. That's an interesting explanation. Thank for the research.
  • I just learnt in my Gymglish lesson of the day the slightest difference between "among"and "amid", here it is :
    Grammatical Note: 'among' and 'amongst' can't directly replace 'amidst' in Belinda's expression. (Amidst this ocean of mediocrity...) Although these terms are synonymous, 'amidst' is often followed by a noun which cannot be separated or individually counted (a collective body). 'Among' and 'amongst' are used in reference to countable quantities, and so we couldn't say 'among the ocean of mediocrity'.
  • It seems that I experience a phenomena of " dejà vu", because I thought that I have already red this before but nevermind, one are never tired of this topic.
  • :-) It's normal this feeling of "déjà vu," seen it before... Because I wrote the question three months ago, had AhQ's answer, and then I brought the post out yesterday after I got more explanations in my lesson, thanks to Gymglish, whose team is permanently trying to imagine what we would like to know, so they manage to match our most intimate wonders with our lessons. If you don't believe this look at Trifle's question about "hung like a horse", which made the "Word of the month" ;)
  • Sincerely sorry, I didn't see that there was some news about among which was often used at the Oskars ceremony broadcasted without subtitles.I begin to understand of what the matter is about.Someone should have tell them that one don't say The Misérab but les miséraBLES.(little revenge).I Hope that GG has taken the opportinities overthere to make the promotion of Frrantastique.I
  • followed up: I would like to explain to Bruce Willis how to pronounce "Dieu" in French.He tried at the French télévision without success despite some praiseworthy efforts.It was funny!

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