Wrong Word Wednesday #44

Every week I will demonstrate an example of poor English where a different word is used from the one intended. Sometimes this creates a grammatically incorrect sentence. Unfortunately, the mistake is usually so pervasive that we all do it and such errors are usually made by those who should know better – journalists working for national or global media outlets such as newspapers and television.

Amount / Number

This is another that people get confused and it’s related to one that is far more common (and I have covered it already): Less / Fewer.

One is a countable noun and the other is a non-countable noun.

Like less, amount refers to a volume; like fewer, number refers to a measurable quantity that can be counted. You will say you have less flour than you thought so will have fewer cakes. Substituting the words: “the amount of flour will affect the number of cakes you can make.”

Grammar Monster has a handy tip that you should use amount with a singular word and number with a plural. The sentence above demonstrates this amount of flour and number of cakes

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3 thoughts on “Wrong Word Wednesday #44

  1. Jools

    Aargh! This is one of my bugbears! It’s amazing how often one hears the wrong word being used by people who should know better – like journalists on the TV.

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