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

Neil Graham lerc at airdmhor.gen.nz
Sat May 25 14:45:41 CEST 2002

To Paraphrase
>>> "Wrong amount of parameters"
>> "Wrong number of parameters"

>>I don't want to argue - I'm not an native english speaker - but what do you
>>do with 'A huge amount of money' - something which I hear often on US
>>TV shows ? Money is countable, so shouldn't it be 'number' then ?
>I'am not a native speaker either but I guess because it is some kind of sum.

I think using the term countable was a little confusing.  It's a
discrete/continuous thing.  'Number of' is discrete.  'Amount of' is
continuous.  You can convert continuous things to discrete by breaking them
up into units.  Litres for water, Dollars for money etc.  When you think of
counting money you are counting units of money.  

Of course, nothing stops people from getting this wrong.  Most supermarkets
have '12 Items or less' lanes instead of '12 items or fewer'.  The latter
is correct.

Just to be extra nitpicky.  If you want to be precise I would recommend
'Incorrect number of parameters'.  'Wrong' has multiple meanings and while
unlikely, it would be problematic if someone thought that the number of
parameters that they had used was morally impermissible. ;-)

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