[fpc-pascal]Compiler uses bad English: "amount" vs "number"
Aitor Santamaria Merino
aitor.sm at wanadoo.es
Tue May 28 00:38:35 CEST 2002
Personally I agree with the fact that it's nice to hear from people
caring about using accurate English in the compiler, with the hope that
this will help to reduce possible confusions derived from using bad English.
Having said that, I also admit that I expected that this kind of
problems should involve at most two or three messages, until it seems to
be correct and agreed, and the developers make such a change.
In my opinion, in this cases, the only thing one can do is to check
documentation, but as (in my opinion, unfortunately) there's no English
Language Academy (as there's for example, for Spanish language), the
resources one can check can be partial.
On my side, and with the idea of clarifying this at all, I have checked
several books by "Collins Cobuild" (Birmingham University), which in my
opinion collect a useful database of (British and American, and probably
others') English ussage.
As a result of the research, I was unable to determine if "AMOUNT" can
be used for both countable and uncountable nouns. It can be used for
uncountable nouns for sure, and in fact, all the examples I have seen
were made using uncountable nouns. The only thing I've found is this:
"English ussage" says:
"You do not talk about an ammount of things or people"
And as an example, it says:
INCORRECT: "amount of chairs"
CORRECT: "number of chairs"
But does not mention the words "countable" or "uncountable" explicitely.
Just as an English student, I am of the opinion that "amount" is perhaps
to be used with uncountable nouns, and "number" for countable, just as
"much" is used for uncountable and "many" for countable. Personally, the
option that I like best is Rich's one, "Mismatch in number of parameters"
PS: "MONEY" is uncountable, according to ANY Collins cobuild reference.
Please, do remember that uncountable does not mean "unmeasurable". MILK
is uncountable, but you measure it by litres or paints. I suppose I pay
more attention to this because in languages coming from latin the
difference between countable/uncountable doesn't seem to be so important
as it is in English (and I guess in German (?)).
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