Amount, Quantity, and Number
The Quick AnswerUse amount of before singular things you cannot measure. For example:
- A large amount of disdain
- A large quantity of money
- A large number of coins
Amount, Quantity, and NumberThere are subtle differences between amount of, quantity of and number of.
Click on the Two Correct Sentences
Amount OfThe term amount of is used for things you cannot measure, i.e., non-countable nouns. Amount of usually precedes a singular word.
- I undertook an inordinate amount of work. (Work is a non-countable noun. It is singular and cannot be measured or counted.)
- She had a certain amount of respect for the sales team, but she always dissented when they spoke at meetings. (Respect is singular and cannot be measured or counted.)
- It is not difficult to see where that amount of hate derives. (Hate is singular and cannot be measured or counted.)
- The amount of women in London who flirt with their own husbands is perfectly scandalous. It looks so bad. It is simply washing one's clean linen in public. (Playwright Oscar Wilde) (Women is plural and can be counted. This should be the number of women. )
Quantity OfThe term quantity of is used with singular or plural (but mostly singular) things that you can measure, i.e., countable nouns. It is usually applied to inanimate objects. (Some older grammar references might advocate that quantity of can only precede a singular word; however, this view is now considered outdated.)
- I took control of a large quantity of money. (Money is singular and can be measured or counted.)
- The ship was only carrying a large quantity of mangoes. (Mangoes is plural, and they can be measured or counted.)
(Note: Number of could also be used in this example. In fact, number of is preferable as it is unlikely to be considered incorrect by those who don't like to see quantity of with a plural noun.)
Number OfThe term number of precedes a plural, countable noun. It can be applied to both animate and inanimate objects.
- The disease affected a large number of camels in the town. (Camels is plural and animate, and they can be counted.)
- The ship was only carrying a large number of mangoes. (Mangoes is plural and inanimate, and they can be counted.)
(Note: Quantity of could also be used in this example.)
Interactive ExerciseHere are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.
See Alsoadverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? qualitative and quantitative tenant or tenet? who's or whose?
What are nouns? What are verbs? List of easily confused words