Amount of, number of, quantity of are phrases we use to express the volume of something. How do we know which phrase to use? Let’s find out.
Use the amount of with uncountable and unmeasurable nouns. Remember that it always goes with a noun in singular, not in the plural. Don’t say an amount of trees, vegetables, buildings or any other countable nouns. Use it when you want to define the quantity of time, money, etc.
- The Taylors spent a large amount of money on their holiday.
- A huge amount of salt poisoned the soil in an Indian village when the seawater flooded it.
- Paul and Mary spent a considerable amount of time studying for the exam.
- I must admit, there was a certain amount of doubt that she would show up.
- When she first came into the classroom, Alison felt a tiny amount of interest in school.
Use the phrase number of with countable and measurable nouns. Therefore, you can use it with nouns in both singular and plural.
- There was a number of things on my to-do list.
- The number of people who have electric cars is increasing.
- A huge number of soldiers, as well as civilians, died in the First World War.
- Peter tried to get Anna on the phone a number of times, but no one was answering.
- They are going to limit the number of students this year.
Use plural verb after a number of
- A number of people were queuing.
Use singular verb after the number of (meaning several)
- The number of people at the party was declining as time went by.
Quantity is more formal than number or amount. Use quantity of to define the amount of inanimate (not living) objects that can be measured or counted. It has two forms: quantity of and quantities of.
- For this cake, you need to use the same quantities of flour and sugar.
- Tom gained weight because he consumed large quantities of nuts.
- When taken in large quantities, alcohol can cause liver damage.
- They produce sufficient quantities of food in that country.
- My smartphone can store vast quantities of data.
Remember to say large quantity instead of big quantity.
- The students read a large quantity of text (not big quantity)
Meaning: a large number.
- There was any number of items on the shop shelves.
Meaning: in large amounts.
- We are offering a fair discount if you buy in quantity.
Meaning: use it to say that something has no effect.
- No amount of money can buy my peace of mind.
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