Why you don’t want a large amount of people

I’ve been grading writing assignments this week, and have seen the phrase “a large amount of people” many times. No. No. Please, no.

I can’t draw at all, so I’ve engaged the help of some clip art for this.

Here is a tree:

Tree

If I want to increment trees (have more of them) they are a discrete thing, so I need to have a larger NUMBER of them.

Tree graphicTree graphicTree graphic

If I try to have a larger AMOUNT of trees, this happens:

Tree with several partial treesTree with several partial trees

Pretty horrible, isn’t it? Imagine this was people.

Maybe I don’t want 3 trees. Do I want LESS trees?

Partial tree

Uh, no. Sorry. Mr. Tree!

I want FEWER of these discrete objects.

Tree graphicTree graphic

There. That’s better

Because, I wouldn’t want less people, either.

So remember, unless you are writing a horror movie script, a greater number or fewer people. Save the more or less for things like money, flour and other stuff you can’t count out one by one.

Once again, grammar saves lives.

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