Unless you are a cannibal—in which case, good for you for learning to read. Now, stop eating people!—human beings do not come in “amounts.” Once more this morning I heard a figure in the popular media say, “The amount of people.” People do not come in “amounts.” They come in “numbers.” The noun “amount” refers to a quantity of something. People are not quantities. People do drink amounts of water. They purchase amounts of cheese. They do not drink numbers of water or purchase numbers of cheese. People come in numbers as in “Great numbers of people attended both services on the Sabbath.”
I don’t want to read a lot of drivel in the comments about how “language changes” and how “usage is king.” Of course language changes but all changes are not equally helpful and some should be resisted. There is always a negotiation as language evolves but that’s just the thing. There’s a negotiation between fixity and change. Here we have an example of a stupid change because by it we’re losing an important distinction. For language to mean anything there has to be some reference from language to the way things are. Reality is not a construct of human speech. We are not God. He spoke reality into existence but we speak analogically and our language has to recognize the nature of things. Nature is not some human construct or the product of the human will. In the nature of things there is a distinction between humans and cheese and if so our language should reflect that reality.