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Senior Member
Hello everyone.

I learnt from a book published by Cambridge that "amount" is used with an uncountable noun, while "number" is used with a countable noun.

But, my teacher just paraphrased "In some countries an increasing number of people are suffering from health problems as a result of eating too much fast food. It is therefore necessary for government to impose a higher tax on this kind of food."


"It is argued that states should charge fast food companies more tax because of the growing amount of men and women with health conditions associated with this type of food"

I am very confused.
Anyone can explain this?
Thanks a million!
  • Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    You may see different opinions about "number of" and "amount of" in some contexts, but in the example you give, I would use only "number of".

    (Incidentally, separately from the question of number/amount, the paraphrased version has other issues and the two versions do not have precisely the same meanings.)


    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    From an earlier discussion of this issue, I posted

    It is an "error" that is increasingly commonly used and therefore becoming "standard"! When I hear amount I think of a mound (etymology suggests: to go up onto) of an uncountable thing that can form, well, a mound (soil and sugar are examples), I have horrible images when my mind conjures up a mound of people, so this one will always grate when I hear it, no matter how commonplace it becomes.


    Senior Member
    British English
    And even if one could replace "number of people" with "amount of people", I'm not sure the meaning would be the same.

    "Number" is clearly a COUNT - 100 people might be 100 small, medium or large people or any mix of those.

    When we refer to the "amount" we are probably concerned with the quantity eg value or weight.

    The supermarket had to destroy a large amount of meat due to refrigeration problems.

    Many people lost a large amount of money due to the fraud.

    (Rhetorical question!) What about: The lifeboat capsized due to the amount of people on board.
    ie it could safely hold 50 small people, but not 50 very large and heavy people.
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