Re: Fewer vs. Less

Subject: Re: Fewer vs. Less
From: Barb Philbrick <caslonsvcs -at- IBM -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 19:01:28 GMT

On Mon, 21 Apr 1997 16:20:36 -0600, you wrote:

>Simple guidelines: use fewer with plurals, less with singular nouns.
>ex. fewer dollars
> less money
Actually (according to _Which Word When?_, by Paul Heacock) (I
reworked his formatting a little here to make the sentences easier to

"..._Fewer_ is generally employed when the subject is a plural number
of identifiable things."
Examples: Fewer toys. Fewer agenda items. Fewer places.
"_Less_ is used for plural numbers when they deal with distances and
amounts, as well as for singular items.
Examples: Less than a hundred dollars. Less than four miles. Less time
than it takes to spit. Less material. Less work.

"In phrases that give plural quantities of time, either word is
acceptable, but singular amounts of time take less."
Examples: Less than five minutes. Fewer than five minutes. Less than a
minute (but not "fewer than a minute").

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