While writing an essay, I discovered that my MacBook Ru-En dictionary suggests using amount speaking about books:

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So, that is what I have in my text:

I state again that reading a lot has big advantages: while reading we develop our imagination and vocabulary and it is strongly connected with the amount of books.

On the other hand, there is an ambiguous information given on another site.

Could you please explain: is it correct to use the word amount in relation to books?

  • 2
    "we have any amount of books" sounds strange and non-fluent to this US English speaker.
    – stangdon
    Jun 28, 2018 at 22:50
  • 1
    Stangdon: agreed. We have any amount of bound and printed material; we have any number of books. Jun 29, 2018 at 7:06
  • Side note: There's a difference between an example usage in a dictionary, and a recommended usage in a dictionary. I wouldn't go so far as to say that this dictionary is "recommending" the word amount over number in this context.
    – J.R.
    Jun 29, 2018 at 8:54

3 Answers 3


A "number" of items refers to something you can count. You can count books, so it's "a number of books." This answers the question, How many?

Amount refers to something you can't count. Abstract concepts cannot be counted. You have a large amount of determination, for example. Amount answers the question, How much?

Sometimes it's tricky to determine which to use. Liquid is not something you can count, but you could count the number of measurements. For example, I cannot tell you "how many" water I have (because that doesn't mean anything, since I can't count it), but I can tell you how many gallons of water I have.


I would say in your example

it is strongly connected with the amount of books.

does not work, since a person can only read a finite number of books.

Where your phrase might be possible is

The amount of books that they have in the library is ginormous.

implying an uncountable number of books.

enter image description here

  • The number of books that they have in the library still sounds better to me, whether its "ginormously uncountable" or not.
    – J.R.
    Jun 29, 2018 at 8:52

I believe the "number" of books in the library is ginormous is correct. There may be a lot of books there but they can be counted.

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