[fpc-pascal]Compiler uses bad English: "amount" vs "number"

gj bart bronco at olagrande.net
Sat May 25 00:33:07 CEST 2002

On Fri, 24 May 2002 BigMatt19 at aol.com wrote:

> Hello Rich,
>   I am also a native English speaker.  Although I am not on the Free
> Pascal development team.  This seems to me to be a _very_ minor issue.
> Especially since the current term fits perfectly.  "Wrong amount of
> parameters" is perfectly legal in the English language.
> Sorry, I just get very annoyed with those who nitpick on something so
> terribly trivial and have that one thing not even an issue anyway.
>  - Matt

     While I agree with you that he makes too big a thing of the "error",
(it is *almost* if not quite contrived) the fact is that "wrong amount"
instead of "wrong number" is a rather awkward construction in this
instance.  If the project directors want the finest possible product,
then shouldn't this attitude also include grammar and usage?  After all,
many user manuals written by native speakers could also use a good
once-over so why not this one?  And, intelligent people in general
often like to know the correct way to do a given task and don't mind being
told of a mistake.  Some of the non-native speakers on this list will some
day work for US companies, where excellent language skills can be a big


> In a message dated Fri, 24 May 2002  6:06:26 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
> pasco at acm.org writes:
> >
> >
> > I appreciate that English is a second languge for most of the
> > Free Pascal authors, and I don't mean to criticize, but as a native
> > English speaker, I would like to suggest a correction to one of the
> > compiler error messages.
> >
> > The message is "Wrong amount of parameters specified"
> > It would be better to say "Wrong number of parameters specified"
> >
> > The reason is that in English, "amount" is used to measure a real
> > number, a continuously-variable quantity (e.g. "the amount of water
> > in the bucket") whereas "number" is used to measure an integer, a
> > countable quantity (e.g. "the number of tennis balls in the bucket").
> >
> > Since the error message refers to a countable, integer quantity,
> > it should refer to the "number of parameters" not the "amount."
> >
> > I hope this is helpful, and thank you again for an
> > excellent product.
> >
> >     - Rich
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> > http://lists.freepascal.org/mailman/listinfo/fpc-pascal
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