Word Choice – Number Versus Amount

Colin’s question: “Can the words ‘amount’ and ‘number’ be interchanged? I have seen ‘the amount of people’ and the ‘number of people.’ Which is correct?”

BizWritingTip response: These words are not interchangeable. Use “amount” for money and for things that cannot be counted.

Examples
They received a large amount of money for that idea.
The amount of grumbling has increased. (You can’t count grumbling.)
Use “number” for items that can be counted.

Examples
A large number of people attended the conference.
A small number of branch offices are closing.
The number of proposals we must write is increasing.

I have had a number of people seeking help with this point. Glad I can help.

 

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