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Monday, October 20, 2008

Criminal Sentence 109: Less v Fewer

From a Web ad:

"Less wrinkles in only 60 minutes"

If only I could believe this claim. If only I could believe this grammar. You use "less" with nouns you can't count, such as sugar or furniture. You use "fewer" with items you can count, such as grains of sugar or pieces of furniture. Unfortunately, you can count wrinkles, so you need to use "fewer." People avoid this word because it sounds a little stilted. If you don't like it, then you can reword your sentence.

If you notice whether your noun is countable or noncountable, you'll have fewer grammar errors.

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