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Thread: Among and Amid

  1. #1
    Huda-M's Avatar
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    Unhappy Among and Amid

    Hi..!

    Please can you tell me the difference between ''Among and Amongst'' and ''Amid and Amidst''? And they mean the same right?

    I wanted to use one of the words in the sentence below, so kindly tell me which one suits the most:

    They shared the foods not only ______ themselves, but with the less privileged ones as well.



    Thank you in advance!

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    Re: Among and Amid

    I'd go with "among" here. The word "amid" implies a certain state of affairs:

    Amid the controversy about security, border queues and transport chaos it is easy to forget that this is a sporting occasion.

    As far as adding "st" to any of those, that's just an archaic form which is still in use nowadays.

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    Re: Among and Amid

    You wouldn't hear "amongst" in AmE unless someone was being deliberately archaic.

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    Re: Among and Amid

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    You wouldn't hear "amongst" in AmE unless someone was being deliberately archaic.
    Or perhaps overly formal? I mean, in academic texts?
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

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    Re: Among and Amid

    COED11 tells us:

    among (chiefly British also amongst).
    amidst, literary variant of amid.

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    Re: Among and Amid

    As Bennevis mentioned, amidst and amongst are archaic. Another point is that both the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster list amid and among as the primary entries, with amidst and amongst as variants.

    Quote Originally Posted by charliedeut View Post
    Or perhaps overly formal? I mean, in academic texts?
    That's a good question Charlie. I edit academic text on a daily basis (I don't claim to be an expert of course, but I come across this thought frequently).

    I think there is a tendency for new academic writers to think that formal wording is a general requisite. In some cases a "formal" term is important, but necessarily because formality is the driving factor. For instance, it is often helpful to avoid informal phrasal verbs in academic papers, not only because the tone is often inconsistent with the rest of the paper, but also because such verbs can often hinder flow and introduce ambiguity. I would argue that the latter two issues are much more compelling reasons to avoid an informal term. Using a formal word for the sake of formality itself can easily lead to burdensome structures or make for tedious reading. I'm a fan of using words that most readers will understand, so long as they convey the correct meaning. :)

    In the cases of amid/amidst and among/amongst, I think it's just a matter of Bennevis's idea and also the convention, at least as I have seen it, to use the primary spelling of a word (I suppose those two go hand in hand when dealing with an archaic spelling anyway).
    Last edited by Academic Writing; 07-Sep-2012 at 18:17.
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    Re: Among and Amid

    Thank you everyone!

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    Re: Among and Amid

    Quote Originally Posted by Academic Writing View Post
    but necessarily because
    Just to clarify, I should have written "but not necessarily because." Sorry! :)
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    Re: Among and Amid

    Quote Originally Posted by charliedeut View Post
    Or perhaps overly formal? I mean, in academic texts?
    I don't think so. It's not formal, it's archaic.

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