I was delighted to get an e-mail from Mariah, an 8th grader from Connecticut, who writes:
Hi Snarky,Excellent work, Mariah! Now go ask your ELA teacher to give you some extra credit. You deserve it!
I think I just spotted a grammar mistake in this ad for Colgate Total toothpaste. The girl says, "You want to see a Colgate Total mouth? See? A lot less germs, and I brushed at 7 am." She should have said 'fewer germs.'
Where does Colgate go wrong? The copywriter should have used fewer with a countable noun.
- Use fewer for countable nouns. Thanks to fluoridated water, kids get fewer cavities these days. We can count cavities.
- Use less for uncountable nouns. There is less plaque on your teeth after you brush. Plaque can be measured, but not counted.
- "You want to see a Colgate Total mouth? See? A lot fewer germs, and I brushed at 7am."
- "You want to see a Colgate Total mouth? See? A lot less plaque, and I brushed at 7am."