Among and amongst

Modern newspaper style books tell journalists to use among rather than amongst. The rule applies on both sides of the Atlantic as well as in Australia and New Zealand.

While both words are correct, amongst is regarded as old-fashioned and may soon be obsolete.

My 40-year-old copy of the Oxford Concise Dictionary offers the two words as alternatives.

According to the Oxford Dictionaries website, among is “chiefly British”. This surprised me.

I checked my own work – almost 30,000 documents – and found I’ve used the word ‘amongst’ about 120 times compared with ‘among’ about 800 times.