This Week’s Grammar Mailbox question is:
Fewer or Less?
Use fewer when referring to COUNTABLE nouns in the plural.
e.g. Fewer students are choosing language-related subjects nowadays.
Use less when referring to UNCOUNTABLE nouns or nouns that do not have a plural form.
e.g. If you want to spend less time in traffic jams, go for the underground.
Activity: Fewer or Less?
- His weight-loss regimen is working! He weighed 180 pounds last month and now he’s down to______________________than 160!
- ______________________than ten students attended this early morning class punctually.
- Their marriage lasted______________________than three years.
- Your perfume stinks! Please wear______________________of it, especially when you’re around me.
- Due to her busy schedule, she did______________________exercises than she should have.
Write your answers in the comments sections. We will reveal the correct answers in our next post!
Answers to last week’s challenge:
1. ALL EMPLOYEES are leaving work early to be home with their families for a long weekend. [changed the singular “everybody” to the plural “all employees” and kept the plural “their”]
2. Neither of the books has writing in ITS margins. [OR. . . in THE margins.]
3. If we know the players are all female, we could write “Each of the players on the softball team has to wash HER uniform between games.” But if we are uncertain about the gender of the players, or if the team is coed, we might write “EACH of the players on the softball team has to wash HIS OR HER uniform between games” or “ALL of the players on the softball team have to wash THEIR uniforms between games.” The latter choice, however, is not as precise as the former because it fails to present the picture of each player washing his or her individual uniform.