1. He is standing at the gate.
  2. He is standing among the crowded place.

If both are wrong what is the right usage?

  • 1
    1 is OK, 2 seems strange. He is standing among the people in a crowded place. – GEdgar Aug 14 '12 at 14:43
  • Sorry, due to semantic and grammar reasons, 'among' is unsuitable for expressing relationship in concrete space environment! – Elberich Schneider Aug 14 '12 at 16:07
  • 3
    @Xavier: Often unsuitable, perhaps, but that's not always the case, (as in, "He is standing among the wreckage"). Depending on what just got demolished, that could be a very "concrete" environment ;^) – J.R. Aug 14 '12 at 16:34

Various dictionaries, for example Cambridge, define among along the lines of

in the middle of or surrounded by

This definition would lead one to believe that being in the midst of a crowd would endorse the sentence

He was standing among the crowd.

However, virtually all of the examples in those dictionaries use a plural noun in describing what he is among. The term crowd is a collective noun but connotes the whole rather than the individual members. Standing among the crowd just sounds wrong.

The phrase the OP offers

the crowded place

is clearly a singular concept - a place that happens to be crowded. As such, it would not be an acceptable usage.


First sentence is correct. Second sentence should be "he is standing in the crowded place." Although even then it sounds like a sentence constructed by a foreigner. More common or natural would be "he is standing amongst the crowd"

  • Yes, you are right in saying that 'he is standing amongst the crowd' is more 'natural', but it must be specified that that is true only if 'crowd' is intended as an abstract noun! +1, anyway! – Elberich Schneider Aug 14 '12 at 16:14
  • For love of preciseness: in my comment I meant abstract = uncountable! – Elberich Schneider Aug 14 '12 at 16:21
  • 1
    @XavierVidalHernández Abstract nouns are not all uncountable. Nor are concrete nouns all countable. Crowd is not an abstract noun, nor is it uncountable. – Andrew Leach Aug 14 '12 at 16:53

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