How Do I Use Amount And Number?

Use number for things you can count.

Ex: I spilled a large number of bags of flour on the floor.

Use amount for quantities you can’t count.

Ex: I spilled a large amount of flour on the floor.

Growing up during the Great Depression in Morgantown, West Virginia, comedian Don Knotts was lucky to have the mother he did. She could take very little meat and turn it into a great amount of meatloaf. In fact, when young Don went to the grocery store to buy a quarter-pound of hamburger, the grocer would joke, “Are you people having company again?”

The Southwest Florida International Airport had a problem with an overabundance of birds camping out on the runways. Occasionally, collisions occurred between the birds and the aircraft, and not unsurprisingly, the birds suffered the greatest amount of damage. This is not to say that the aircraft did not sustain expensive damage in the collisions. Very definitely, the aircraft did. Fortunately, the airport officials found a way to reduce the number of collisions and to avoid killing birds and having aircraft damaged. They simply hired the services of a dog. Before an aircraft lands, they let lose the dog and he very happily clears the landing area. The first dog whose services they hired was named Jet, a name he acquired before being trained to do this particular job. After Jet was retired, they hired the services of a new dog, whose name is Radar.

Rabbi Meir Shapiro of Lublin often said that he had learned from a beggar how to collect money for charity. A beggar had appeared at his door, and the good Rabbi had given him a generous handout, but the beggar asked for more. Someone present said that he was surprised that the beggar had asked for more money because the beggar had often accepted much smaller sums of money without arguing. The beggar replied that when he was given a small amount of money, it wasn’t worth arguing about because what he would get if he won the argument? Another small amount of money. But a sizable amount of money was worth arguing about because if he won that argument he would get another sizable amount of money. Rabbi Meir Shapiro said, “Whenever I ask a donation from a wealthy man and he gives me a sizable sum, I tell that story.”

© 2015, David Bruce, All Rights Reserved

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