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Number and Amount

In the amount of time it will take you to learn this rule, you could easily create a list that includes any number of correct examples.


  • What amount of children do you have?
  • The glass held a surprisingly large number of wine.
  • I can’t begin to count the amount of times that I tried that card trick and failed.


Think of this pair of words in the same way you might consider fewer vs. less: One is for countable items (number), and the other is for uncountable items (amount). By now you have read a specific number of entries in this book; what amount of knowledge have you gained?


The word amount is called a mass noun, meaning that it measures uncountables such as giddiness, water in the ocean, or the northern lights. A person or an item can also “amount to something” (amount = verb), meaning “become equal to.” “My efforts in the kitchen amounted to only eleven cookies after I ate one.” The original number of cookies was twelve, after all.

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