Amount(s) to nothing

Posted by Smokey Stover on June 04, 2007

In Reply to: Amount(s) to nothing posted by Bayu Gunawan on June 04, 2007

: Is 'amount(s) to nothing' categorized as idiom/sayings/English phrase? If so, what does it mean?

Amount is an ordinary English verb, always (or almost always) used with the preposition "to," and means: is equivalent to, adds up to, reaches the total of. If you make several purchases in a store with an old-fashioned proprietor, he may say, "That amounts to $35.74 total." Or, even with a single purchase, "With tax that amounts to $35.74." Or, to make up another example, Timmy to Aunt Bess: "Aunt Bess, when I grow up I want to amount to something, like Uncle Bill." "Shush, Timmy, your Uncle Bill don't amount to nothin' much. If you want to amount to anything, get a job as soon as you're old enough." Or, different situation, "All those arguments of yours are beside the point. They amount to nothing."

I would not consider any of these as an idiom or as a saying.