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In the sentences bellow, in my view the versions with the word 'amiss' sound incorrect or at least unidiomatic:

  • What’s wrong?

  • What’s amiss?


  • Is something wrong?

  • Is something amiss?


  • Is there something wrong?

  • Is there something amiss?


  • What’s wrong with the car today? → Nothing is wrong with the car.

  • What’s amiss with the car today? → Nothing is amiss with the car.


  • Something is wrong with my foot.

  • Something is amiss with my foot.

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    it's archaic - but can be used to add quirkiness or humour in modern parlance. I wouldn't use it if my foot hurt, though [unless I was an android in the light-hearted bit of the movie, just before the monsters attack]; the rest I would, in the right circumstance. – Tetsujin Dec 23 '14 at 20:21
  • also, "something's amiss" (or "there's something amiss") is a fairly well known idiom that people may use, usually humorously, when the situation they are in feels 'wrong'. – ell Dec 23 '14 at 20:23
  • agree @sgroves - it's better than "It's quiet, sarge, too quiet." – Tetsujin Dec 23 '14 at 20:24
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These uses of amiss are all "correct" and all idiomatic. But amiss is a fairly 'literary' word which is not heard much in ordinary conversation today, so using it will stand out as somewhat humorous or affected.

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