Less vs Fewer, Which One’s Correct?
Answer is at the bottom of post.
Less of few
While you’re thinking about this little puzzle, you might like to consider the correct usage of the words less and fewer, amount and number.
These words cause problems for many native English speakers.
The incorrect usage can be seen everywhere, from car advertisements to supermarket signs. A classic example would be the 10 items or less signs in supermarkets, which should read 10 items or fewer or better still, “fewer than 10 items”.
Less vs fewer, how do you know which to use?
- The word less is used for items that cannot easily be counted: We have less milk than we thought; the balloon contains less air than yesterday; the cleaning took less time than I expected. These things can be measured, but not counted as such.
- Fewer is for things that can be counted: The milkman delivered fewer bottles of milk than we requested; there are fewer balloons now than yesterday as some have burst; I have to clean fewer rooms now that I live in a smaller house.
The words amount and number have a similar rule that applies.
- Amount is used for items that can’t be counted e.g. He tries to eat only a small amount of cheese; he bought a huge amount of food for the party; she only spends a small amount of money on cleaning products.
- Number is for things that can be counted: She works with a large number of cheesemakers; he invited a small number of people to his birthday; she prefers not to use a large number of cleaning products.
Princes, the plural of prince; when you add an S to princes it becomes princess, a singular word!
Updated: 20th of February 2015