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Misuse of the word "amount" is frequent. It is not applicable to discrete elements of sets, nor is it applicable to sums of discrete units or items. We say "an amount of money", but not an "amount of coins". We say "a number of coins", but not "a number of money". "Amount" should never be used where "number" is the clearest way. 00:15, 17 May 2010 (UTC) (Hu of Wikipedia)

RFV discussion: January–February 2012[edit]

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The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for verification (permalink).

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(Rfv-sense) The second definition is incorrect - it actually means to be the same as or to be equivalent to - it only means succeed when used in conjunction with much. I'll edit the entry if someone confirms. Saltmarshαπάντηση 11:24, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Not only with much. Something also works. It is often used in the negative: "It'll never amount to 'a bucket of warm spit'/'a hill of beans'/'anything'/'more than a pipedream'." Some dictionaries have "amount to" as an idiom/phrasal verb. DCDuring TALK 18:37, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
This is overwhelmingly amount to. Rarely (< 0.1%) "amount upto". DCDuring TALK 18:48, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
done Saltmarshαπάντηση 05:32, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Resolved, AFAICT. - -sche (discuss) 03:21, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Standard/nonstandard usage of "amount" and "number"[edit]

After getting in a civil argument on reddit about the proper usage of "amount", I read Oxford's definition: "A quantity of something, especially the total of a thing or things in number, size, value, or extent."

In fact, many of the dictionaries on onelook list "quantity" or "number" as a synonym. This goes contrary to common belief (and what I learned in school), that "amount" is a mass noun and "number" is a count noun.

This article currently has "amount"="number" listed as nonstandard english, but if Oxford thinks they are the same, well, that should probably be reconsidered.

Going on a slight tangent: the "synonyms" quoted by your interlocutor on Reddit include things like "group, mass, weight" which are clearly only approximately synonyms: an amount of rice isn't a group, nor a weight (though it has a weight). It is clear that they aren't intended to be perfectly interchangeable words of identical meaning; so that synonym list proves nothing about the precise usage of "amount" vs. "number". Equinox 23:53, 19 August 2016 (UTC)