Getting to the core: Amid vs. amidst

Amid all of the confusing words in our language comes amid and amidst. Both mean the same thing: in the middle of or surrounded; for example, The downed pilot soon found himself in a rice paddy amid countless enemy soldiers, all looking for him.

Or should that be The downed pilot soon found himself in a rice paddy amidst countless enemy soldiers, all looking for him.?

Go with amid. Though amidst isn’t wrong, it’s a bit formal sounding, and for that reason most editors and writing instructors prefer amid. The Chicago Manual of Style, amid its many tips and rules, recommends using amid.