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Less or Fewer

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Ok … so even my best friends will tell you I’m a bit of a grammar pedant. :)

But I’m sure I’m not alone in wincing every time I see the horrible muddle people make when using “less” or “fewer”.

Examples? An an article headline this morning … Less People Want to be Nurses. Or a notice in every lift (elevator) of a large building: If travelling two floors or less please use the stairs if you are able to do so.

And that big building? The campus of a national University! Ouch!!!

[Rant mode ON]

Come on folks … surely it’s not an impossible task to get this one right? For something that is … well … “en masse”, for want of a better word, use LESS. But if you could possibly … perhaps even conceivably count ’em … use FEWER!

So…

That hill has less forest
… and fewer trees.
A beach has less sand
… fewer grains of sand.
Less fruit in the bowl
… fewer pieces of fruit
Less water in the lake
… fewer drops of rain.
We travel less distance
… and fewer kilometers
See less of a crowd
… and fewer people.

MORE practice = LESS confusion + FEWER mistakes! :)

[Rant mode OFF]

I feel better now. ;)

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