Fewer versus Less

Fewer versus Less – What’s the Difference?

 

learning activities online english study chatsifieds Fewer versus Less

First and the Best social learning English academy trusted by millions of students.

Study Differently, Speak English Like a PRO with Chatsifieds.com. Free!

 

If you work hard enough and assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world to your desires. Malcolm Gladwell, author

 

 

Fewer versus Less

learning English with laptop chatsifieds study english

 

Fewer versus Less

 

What’s the Difference?

 

 

Yes. To understand the traditional difference, you need to be able to recognize countable nouns and non-countable nouns.

 

A countable noun is any noun you can theoretically stick a number in front of —i.e., a thing you can theoretically count. Examples are bird, tree, problem, and letter. You can write “I see one bird” or “There seven trees in that grove” or “You face six problems” or “We have twenty-four letters in the alphabet,” and it makes sense to listeners.

 

A non-countable noun is any noun that you can’t stick a number in front of —i.e., one that’s an amorphous, uncountable blob. Examples are sand or ice or gold or smog or liquidity. It makes no sense to stick a number in front of them and say, “I want five ice” or “there are seven smog” or “you have twenty-four liquidity.” These are uncountable in their grammatical use, so they make no sense to listeners when you stick a number in front of them.

 

The basic rule is, use less if you talking comparatively about non-countable nouns. Use fewer if you are talking comparatively about countable nouns.

 

Examples:

  • “I have fewer problems than Ted. There are fewer people in that classroom than in the other room.”
  • “I have less water in my glass than five minutes ago. There is less smog in Topeka than in Houston.”

 

In situations that traditionally require less, modern native English speakers nearly almost follow the old-fashioned distinction. However, in situations that require fewer, many native English speakers tend to use less instead of fewer, which suggests the language is gradually changing to using less in both situations—but if so, that transition is not yet complete.

 

Some may argue this is all pedantic and doesn’t matter at all. Pace to Barry Etheridge in this thread, but I would counter that if the distinction between fewer and less were arbitrary, we would be equally comfortable stating “there is fewer water in my glass.” However, native listeners who heard such phrasing would probably indicate that it failed what linguists call “grammaticality judgments”— the technical term for “it doesn’t sound right to me as a native speaker of the language.”

 

In the example Mr. Etheridge gives in his sentence of, “It’s less than three miles to their home,” I would counter that his particular example in spoken language is an ellipsis for “It’s less than three miles’ [distance] to their home,” i.e., the speaker is thinking not of “I will travel less miles” but “I will travel less distance.”

 

Of course, Mr. Etheridge would be quite right to point out that I’m no telepath with the capacity to probe the subconscious of his hypothetical speaker’s mind, so take what I say with a grain—or even a pinch—of salt. Using less in both situations can come across as less stiff and formal than using fewer. Judge which to use based on your rhetorical situation.

 

learning online English study chatsifieds

Less vs Fewer in English

 

Free Video Lesson by Speak Confident English.

 

 

Watch Video
 

Less vs Fewer in English


Less vs Fewer in English video lesson powered by Speak Confident English.

 

 

 

Chatsifieds English test and certificate

 

Fewer versus Less English Skills Practice

 

Your English test starts here 

 

Time Base: 5 minutes, Passing Score – 90% + ( >= 13 questions).

 

Once you’ve passed the exam, you can download your certificate. Free!

 

Best English students chatsifieds

test

This is a timed quiz. You will be given 20 seconds per question. Are you ready?

20
0%

Use __ energy by switching off the lights and fans when you leave the room.

Fewer and Less Chatsifieds learn English faster
Correct! Wrong!

Hear it:

The Taj Mahal has __ tourists visiting it during winter.

Fewer and Less Chatsifieds learn English faster
Correct! Wrong!

Hear it:

I hope my uncle worries __ and takes care of his health.

Fewer and Less Chatsifieds learn English faster
Correct! Wrong!

Hear it:

On Sundays, there are __ buses on the road.

Fewer and Less Chatsifieds learn English faster
Correct! Wrong!

Hear it:

Doctors always recommend intake of __ salt.

Fewer and Less Chatsifieds learn English faster
Correct! Wrong!

Hear it:

This year we hope for __ snow in winter.

Fewer and Less Chatsifieds learn English faster
Correct! Wrong!

Hear it:

The community hall has __ good chairs at present since many are broken.

Fewer and Less Chatsifieds learn English faster
Correct! Wrong!

Hear it:

There were __ vehicles on the road in 2020.

Fewer and Less Chatsifieds learn English faster
Correct! Wrong!

Hear it:

Mr.Stuart would buy this car if it were __ expensive.

Fewer and Less Chatsifieds learn English faster
Correct! Wrong!

Hear it:

I found his latest speech __ boring than his last one.

Fewer and Less Chatsifieds learn English faster
Correct! Wrong!

Hear it:

Sheela has __ interest in technology.

Fewer and Less Chatsifieds learn English faster
Correct! Wrong!

Hear it:

The children made __ noise when the teacher was inside.

Fewer and Less Chatsifieds learn English faster
Correct! Wrong!

Hear it:

There are __ animals in the jungle nowadays.

Fewer and Less Chatsifieds learn English faster
Correct! Wrong!

Hear it:

There are __ boys enrolled for the game this year.

Fewer and Less Chatsifieds learn English faster
Correct! Wrong!

Hear it:

My family has __ girls than boys.

Fewer and Less Chatsifieds learn English faster
Correct! Wrong!

Hear it:
Certificate of Fewer vs Less
Sorry, You failed this test!

Never give up learn English with chatsifieds

Sorry, You failed this " Certificate of To be + Adjectives" - English Skills Test. But don't worry. You can retake this test again.
Well done, you have passed this test!

Women with many chatsifieds english proficiency certificates

Well done! You passed this " Certificate of To be + Adjectives" - English Skills Test. Please enter your full name and email below to download your award.

Share your Results:

ess vs Fewer in English

Less vs Fewer in English

Reference: Kip Wheeler, ( Ph.D. from the University of Oregon) ).  “Is there a difference between Less vs. Fewer when used in a sentence?” originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Knowledge sharing is caring.