The birds perched atop of the tower.

The birds perched atop the tower.

I definitively see the second form more often, but I am not sure if the first one is wrong. I don't see any problem with the first form, but I rarely see it. Is there a reason why?

1 Answer 1


Both of those uses are equally valid. As to which is more common, "atop" is a somewhat archaic word that is not frequently used in modern English. If used today, it is often in a poetic or literary context. The latter use is more poetic.

Modern English would say

The bird perched on top of the tower


The bird perched on the tower

  • You see 'atop' a lot in modern US English, but it is a bit old-fashioned (I wouldn't say 'archaic') in British English, where 'on top of' is more likely to be found. Jun 19, 2020 at 17:11
  • @MichaelHarvey I was going to say the opposite. As an American, I never hear this, but it sounds like the kind of thing that could pass across the pond. If we both never hear it in our own lands, I'd say it's out-of-style everywhere.
    – farnsy
    Jun 20, 2020 at 2:24

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