Number or Amount – Which one should I use?

Number or Amount – Which one should I use?

Writers Write is a comprehensive writing resource. In this post, we talk about when you should say ‘number’ and when you should say ‘amount’.

Number or Amount – Which one should I use?

When do you say ‘the number of’ and when do you say ‘the amount of’?

Is the noun countable or uncountable?

  1. Countable nouns have plurals. Examples: cars, desks, laptops, dogs, countries.
  2. Uncountable nouns do not have plurals. Examples: air, information, equipment, freedom.

Number or Amount – Which one should I use?

Once you understand countable and uncountable nouns you will know when to use ‘amount’ and when to use ‘number’.
  1. We use the word ‘number’ with countable nouns. We talk about the number of cars or desks or laptops.
  2. We use the word ‘amount’ with uncountable nouns. We talk about the amount of air or information or equipment.

Exercises

  1. The MD’s response addressed an/a (amount, number) of our concerns.
  2. Alice had a small (amount, number) of money in her purse, but she gave a (amount, number) of coins to the beggar.
  3. A significant (amount, number) of secretaries enrolled for the course.
  4. The (amount, number) of water we had for the delegates was insufficient.

Answers: 1) number, 2) amount/number, 3) number, 4) amount

[Top Tip: If you need practical help with your grammar, buy The Complete Grammar Workbook.]

by Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this article, read these posts:
  1. How to Structure a Sentence
  2. Punctuation For Beginners: What Is Punctuation?
  3. Grammar For Beginners: All About Parts Of Speech

[Top Tip: If you need practical help with your grammar, buy The Complete Grammar Workbook.]

Posted on: 18th February 2012
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