Somebody asked me about the difference between these 4 words (for IELTS writing task 1). I'll try to explain some basic ways to use them.
- Use "the number of + plural noun" e.g. the number of visitors.
- Don't use it to describe percentages or uncountable nouns e.g. money.
- Use "the amount of + uncountable noun" e.g. the amount of money.
- Don't use it with countable nouns e.g. the amount of person/people.
- Only use this to describe percentages (not numbers).
- Use "the proportion of + plural noun" e.g. the proportion of people.
- Use "the figure for + plural noun" e.g. the figure for visitors to the UK.
- Use it with uncountable nouns e.g. the figure for unemployment.
- Use it with countries e.g. the figure for Canada.
- Use it with percentages e.g. the figure (for...) rose to 10%.
If you've read any of my task 1 essays, you'll see that I like "the figure for" because it can be used in almost any situation.