A recent BBC article reads in part,

Yellowstone officials say bison can run up to 30mph (50km/h) and are the animal responsible for the most amount of injuries within the park.

The phrase “the most amount of injuries” is like nails on a chalkboard to me. “Injury” is a count noun, so I feel it should be, “the greatest number of injuries.” Several grammar web sites agree.

Is there any national or regional variation that would make the BBC's sentence grammatical? (I am asking about prescription, not description. Is this an acceptable sentence in any standard variety of English?)

  • 1
    Online news sites feel they have to write stories so fast that they forget that sub-editors still have a role which takes a little bit of time. – Andrew Leach Jul 24 at 20:03
  • The problem is that most amount is correct—just not with something countable. With something countable, it should be the greatest number (or an equivalent count word). In short, it's most amount or greatest number. You can't mix the two words. So, you're actually asking a confusing question. It's not clear which of the two problems you're actually concerned with. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jul 25 at 19:36
  • The while thing makes me cringe. ;-) The OED has a 1801 example of “amount”, “A number of little birds, to the amount I believe of twelve or fourteen.” And 1893 and example of “any amount of”, “I have any amount of letters for you” (from Shaw!). Those are marginal enough to make me wonder if the sentence could be grammatical in a different standard dialect of English from mine. – adam.baker Jul 25 at 21:21
  • @adam.baker Nah. The BBC website is wrote by illegitimates these days. ;-) – David Jul 29 at 12:33
  • Cf. today's jewel: “they walked less steps” bbc.com/future/story/… – adam.baker Jul 29 at 18:19

the most amount appears to have become sort of idiomatic expression in recent decades.

From The Book That Real Estate Agents Don't Want You to Read!

You need to get the most amount of potential buyers looking at your property within the shortest amount of time, and that is the only way to guarantee you can make that second trip to the hardware store –

From How to Shake the Money Tree By Joe French

I always use my money sparingly, so that I can get the most amount of items, for the least amount of money.

  • Huh, that's really interesting. I kind of want to research what's caused that now. – John Clifford Jul 24 at 20:09
  • One of my sons does it as well—and he's quite resistant to correction! I've edited the question to clarify: I'm trying to find out if this is possible in any standard usage. – adam.baker Jul 24 at 21:02
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    @adam baker Defining 'standard usage' involves at best arbitrary decisions. It's not always as clear cut as classifying John's register above as sarco-whimsical. But I'm surprised that the editors at the BBC let this through (or that they could be bypassed). – Edwin Ashworth Jul 24 at 21:13
  • But does it take plural concord or singular for purposes of verb agreement with subjects headed by that? :) More seriously, amount has never accepted plural concord, which may be part of the disconnect people have with this strange concoction. The first hit in your graph, which by the way is super startling, readd: “this is the point where the MOST amount of micro-tears start [! –tchrist] to occur”. This is pretty bizarre to imagine a parse that allows amount to be plural here. It’s acting like lots of and a lot of, with no number of its own now. – tchrist Jul 25 at 0:21
  • One of the examples your link gives is from an article also containing 'Please return your parking pass when you check-out.' Another, '... try and get 4-5 of my opponents pawns in a queue ...'. Another, 'Most people wouldn’t have guessed he would be the most richest person because he have donated billions ... he is the America’s most beloved investor.' Sources should be investigated when determining acceptability. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 26 at 13:50

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