'Number Of' or 'Amount Of'?

Image Credit: Crustacean Singles

'Number Of' or 'Amount Of': What Is the Difference?

We use number of with countable nouns, and amount of with uncountable nouns:

A large number of students were absent yesterday. (student is a countable noun)
A large amount of students were absent yesterday.

The number of homeless people has increased substantially in the last five years. (people is a countable noun)
The amount of homeless people has increased substantially in the last five years.

The shipping industry creates a huge amount of waste every day. (waste is uncountable)
The shipping industry creates a huge number of waste every day.

We have only a small amount of money left. (money is uncountable)
We have only a small number of money left.

Examples from the Media

A Sydney University spokeswoman said the institution was able to increase the number of Chinese students through its strong international reputation. —The Sydney Morning Herald

A frighteningly large number of Americans support arming teachers. —The Washington Post

There has been a drop in desire by people to own their own home, while at the same time the amount of money people believe they need for retirement has increased, research has found. —Otago Daily Times

Canada's environment ministers want to cut in half the amount of garbage this country produces, in a little over two decades. —Toronto Star

Real-World Examples of Misuse

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