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Thanks for your help.
Amongst is just a variant of among. Webster's Dictionary of English Usage adds:
Amidst is just an alternative form of amid. Webster's says:Most of the commentators who mention these words note that amongst is less common but both are correct. Our evidence confirms this; it also shows amongst a bit more common in British use than American.
Both forms are in frequent use; you can use whichever sounds better to you.
Thanks for your help.
Are these words common in the written language?
My reference has a copyright of 1989. Usages could have changed.
Amidst sounds normal even to me, an American.
There is a comment in OED about "amidst" saying : There is a tendency to use "amidst" more distributively than "amid", e.g. of things scattered about, or a thing moving, in the midst of others. But as far as I checked on Google, I could not detect this tendency in the current English.
Anonymous:Personally, as an American lawyer living in Britain, I would like to see "whilst" come back into American English for the meaning "during the time of/when/as" and have "while" be reserved, both in British and American English, for a substitute for "although" or "whereas." In formal legal American scholarly English (FLASE), we do not permit "since" to mean "because" or "whereas" -- it is propertly restricted to the time domain. Those of us who care about such things should adopt this temporal restriction for at least "whilst" leaving "while" to serve non-temporal needs!!
Join the whilst/while revolution whilst you can!!! We are the keepers of the language, and while I am not an English scholar, I am a consumer/producer in the English language economy. Empower ourselves now -- whilst we can!!
Chasm (soon to have an account with this name)
I agree that whilst, amongst, and amidst have a nice sound, and whilst could have a useful, separate application.
But I think the language is a 500 pound gorilla -- it will become whatever it wants to.
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