Saturday, October 9, 2010

Less vs. Fewer: Let's Count Together

Deanna writes:
I'm so excited, Snarky! I've been on the lookout for a grammar goof to send in and I found this very noticeable mix-up of less vs. fewer.
Nice going, Deanna! It's a beauty. 

Where does TBS go wrong? Its slogan mixes up less and fewer.

Quick rules:
  • Use fewer for countable nouns. Since we got a DVR, we spend fewer minutes watching ads. We can count minutes.
  • Use less for uncountable nouns. Since we got a DVR, we spend less time watching ads. Time can be measured, but not counted.

  •  more movie... fewer commercials


  1. less is also used if there is only ONE of the countable nouns. for example, "there is one less thing" as opposed to "three fewer things"

  2. Good point, Anonymous! (If that's really your name ;-)

  3. Bollocks, Snarky. Prescriptivist poppycock. Can you put your absurd rule in 25 words or less?

    Good writers always have and always will ignore this bollocks. They will deliberately, willfully, knowingly, and unashamedly ignore it.

    Snarky, select and integer greater than 3 and less than 20... Or should that be fewer than 20?

  4. The possible concerning values and other factors would bring around all those values for the students towards which they have been looking for. homepage