I am having some questions regarding the count on and count with usages.

I believe count with should be used when I'm telling something like:

I can count with my fingers.

And count on could be used in situations like:

You can count on me

I've heard a sentence from a friend that sounds incorrect for me:

It is from a friend you can always count with.

Is this sentence correct? Shouldn't it be

It is from a friend you can always count on.

I'm unsure about it because every time I've seen the count on it has something after, as the count on me example.

Thanks a lot!


You're confusing the meanings of 'count'

Count with my fingers = enumerate… 1..2..3..

Count on me = depend on.

See OALD & check the difference in meaning between 1,2,3 & 4,5,6.

To say "It is from a friend you can always count with." would imply they would be quite happy to stand with you & help you decide how many oranges are in your shopping bag ;)

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Yes, you are correct. It should be 'count on'.

The phrase 'to count on' means 'to rely on', while the verb 'count' on it's own, or with the word 'with', means to count, as in 1, 2, 3, 4... etc. 'Count with' basically means 'Count using...'

In english there are word combinations that change the meanings of the verbs used. These are called compound verbs. 'Count on' is a common compound verb, 'count with' is not.

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  • Thanks a lot! The only reason why I haven't given you the accepted answer because Tetsujin has answered first. – Merurino Dec 16 '14 at 19:41

The previous answers are accurate. "Count on" and "count with" are definitely different. That said, they are related!

Imagine I grow trees I want to post a sign that says "Apple Trees for Sale".

I ask my neighbor to bring me some paint. He says "You can count on me."

So I can "count" that first step as good as done, then I can count/figure what the next steps are and how I'll get them done--as if I am counting on my fingers "1, 2, 3, 4" the steps and how I'll get them done.

So I can have an idea of how I'll do all this before I actually begin.

I've seen the phrase interpreted as "you can trust me". This is close, but too simple. The phrase means "you can depend on me to do this specific thing". Related is "you can trust me to do the right thing in general". I'm pretty sure the first definition is how the phrase started.

There's a reason it's "count on me" instead of "milk on me", "walk on me", "fly on me". The phrase has a logic, sense and history to it. Many words are like this and can be rewarding+helpful to learn about.

--A similar phrase is "counting on". As in, "I was counting on that pay raise in order to go vacation". This means that I was depending on the extra money I figured I would get.

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  • Welcome to ELL. Nice first post! – Peter Jan 20 '16 at 8:36

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