Amount, Quantity, and Number

Use amount of before singular things you cannot measure. For example: Use quantity of before a singular (and sometimes plural) thing you can measure, particularly if it's inanimate. For example: Use number of before plural things you can measure. For example:

Amount, Quantity, and Number

There are subtle differences between amount of, quantity of and number of.

Amount Of

The term amount of is used for things you cannot measure, i.e., non-countable nouns. Amount of usually precedes a singular word.


Quantity Of

The term quantity of is used with singular or plural (but mostly singular) things that you can measure, i.e., countable nouns. It is usually applied to inanimate objects. (Some older grammar references might advocate that quantity of can only precede a singular word; however, this view is now considered outdated.)


Number Of

The term number of precedes a plural, countable noun. It can be applied to both animate and inanimate objects.


A Quick Test

A Quick Word about Less and Fewer

Amount of should be used with a singular word, and number of should be used with a plural word. Similarly, less should be used before a singular word, and fewer should be used with a plural word.

Read more about using less and fewer.

Should I Use Quantity Of or Amount Of?

People will have different ideas on what is measurable. For example: Is sleep measurable? If you judge that sleep can be measured in hours, then quantity of sleep could be an acceptable alternative. In general, tangible objects (i.e., things you can touch) attract quantity of and intangible objects attract amount of.

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See Also

Qualitative and quantitative What are nouns? What are verbs? List of easily confused words