Among or Amongst?

Which one is right?

Does it matter?

‘No’ seems to be the answer – certainly according to my New Fowler’s Modern English Usage. There – that was a short and easily digested posting, wasn’t it.

Except, what caught my eye was the origin of both words, something that always fascinates me. It seems that the Anglo-Saxons used to say on gemang, as in that’s put the cat on gemang the pigeons.

An early focus group featuring Anglo-Saxons introducing their language into Britain.

Anglo-Saxons host a focus group with Celts about the possibility of introducing their language into Britain.

This transmuted into onmang, which by the late Middle Ages had become variously amang, amonges and among. It’s easy to see the modern split in the survival of the final two variations.

 

 

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About ramblesofawriter

Writer, thinker, tea drinker.
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