The Difference Between Number and Amount
Number and amount are commonly misused words that are often considered interchangeable. They are not. “A large amount of people” is frequently used like it's something that makes perfect sense, even in professional journals and newspapers. But it is not a large “amount” of people, it is a large number.
- Amount is used for things that cannot be counted, like a large amount of difficulty.
- Number is used for things that can be counted, like a large number of people.
When in doubt, use a simple pneumonic like “amount can’t count” to help you keep it straight. We all have our Achilles’ Heels in writing. Secret: Mine is the dreaded comma splice. I know it’s wrong, I know why it’s wrong, and yet I do it anyway. All the time! If confusing number and amount is a mistake you make often, run a quick search for both words when you are finished writing your piece. Make sure they are used correctly and correct as necessary. Eventually it will become second nature.
Perfection is not the goal, and it shouldn't be it be. You can’t turn every blog post or web page into your magnum opus – you have a business to run! However, you can make sure your content writing consistently improves as you learn and grow as a writer. Check back soon for another tip to tighten up your writing.