Less vs Fewer

In this post, we look at less vs fewer, and tell you when you should use them.

Less vs Fewer

Generally speaking ‘fewer’ is used for things that can be counted. If you can count something, choose ‘fewer’. If you can’t, use ‘less’.

Fewer from Oxford Dictionaries

‘Use fewer if you’re referring to people or things in the plural (e.g. houses, newspapers, dogs, students, children). For example:

  1. People these days are buying fewer newspapers.
  2. Fewer students are opting to study science-related subjects.
  3. Fewer than thirty children each year develop the disease.’

Less from Oxford Dictionaries

‘Use less when you’re referring to something that can’t be counted or doesn’t have a plural (e.g. money, air, time, music, rain). For example:

  1. It’s a better job but they pay you less money.
  2. People want to spend less time in traffic jams.
  3. Ironically, when I’m on tour, I listen to less music.’

[Top Tip: If you need practical help with your grammar, buy The Complete Grammar Workbook.]

by Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this article, read these posts:

  1. 93 Extremely Bad Business Writing Habits to Break
  2. The Ellipsis
  3. Semicolons and Colons
  4. Between you and me
  5. Commonly confused abbreviations: etc., i.e., e.g.
  6. Hyphens & Dashes
  7. Punctuation and Dialogue
  8. What is a sentence fragment?
  9. That or Which – Which one should I use?
  10. The 12 Worst Mistakes People Make In Email Subject Lines
  11. Begin at the end – the one essential email trick every business writer should know
  12. Apostrophes Explained
  13. 11 Common Mistakes Writers Make with Prepositions
Posted on: 4th September 2012