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What's the difference between amount and number?

Average: 4 (41 votes)

The confusion between amount and number is common but can be easily overcome. They are not interchangable - their use relates to countable and uncountable nouns.


Use amount is with uncountable nouns and abstract nouns:

amount of time

amount of snow

amount of noise

amount of love (abstract noun)

amount of pride (abstract noun)


Use number with countable nouns (things that can be counted):

number of cars

number of chairs

number of houses

number of topics

Number of people

Although it is grammatically correct to say a number of people, in casual English it is common to hear the amount of people. The amount of people is frequently used but not actually right. Be aware of this especially in formal situations or English language tests.

Now decide if these sentences need amount or number:

  • 1) A large ___ of animals were sold.

  • 2) I wasn't expecting this ___ of work.

  • 3) The airline experienced an increased ___ of passengers in summer.

  • 4) I saw ___ of friends on my way to work today.

  • 5) Music gives me a huge ___ of pleasure.

  • 6) The company is trying to reduce the ___ of complaints it receives.

  • 7) The university has doubled its ___ of female engineering students.

  • 8) He's always had a large ___ of trust in me.

  • 9) What does the ___ of happiness we have depend on?

  • 10) The ___ of stress we have is hard to measure.