Less or Fewer?

Less milk and fewer sugar lumps.

A great question was posed this week in our Facebook group:

When do we use less and fewer?

We use less with uncountable (mass) and singular nouns.

Examples:

  • There is less water in the second glass.
  • I have less access to the office than I used to have.
  • Jane eats less bread than John.
  • Jane writes less poetry when her mind is on other things.

We use fewer with countable (count) and plural nouns.

Examples:

  • There are fewer glasses of beer on that table.
  • Jane eats fewer slices of bread than John.
  • Fewer people live in Storm Town after the hurricane.

Less and fewer with time, money, distance and weight

Time, money, distance and weight very often conjugate in the singular.

Examples:

  • $10,000 is a lot of money.
  • 10 years is a long time.
  • 1000 Kilograms is a heavy weight.

Therefore, using the rule above, we use less with time, money, distance and weight.

Examples:

  • $10,000 is less than $20,000.
  • 10 years is less than 20 years.
  • The car weighs less than 1000 kilograms.

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