For years, I blithely went through life thinking that “less” and “fewer” meant the same thing. For the sake of convenience, I used “less” for everything…less cars, less people, less things to do…
Now? I shudder at the thought.
So, are you ready to learn tip two on how to instantly sound smarter?
Fewer is for anything you can count.
Less is for anything you can’t count.
So it’s actually FEWER cars, FEWER people, and FEWER things to do, since you can count all of those!
You will probably have to re-train your brain a little on this one. When I first learned it, I found myself pausing and stumbling a lot, asking, “Can I count this?”
You’ll get through it.
The one big exception that I cover in the podcast is money. For some reason, the grammatical overlords who invented these rules decided that money is more of an idea, so it’s less money. However, since dollars are so obviously countable, it’s fewer dollars.
Fewer is for anything you CAN count.
Less if for anything you CAN’T count.
Fewer biscuits. Fewer cookies. Fewer goals. Fewer homework assignments. Fewer tardies. Fewer headaches. “Fewer” for anything you can count!
Learn more in episode 15 of the Vocabbett podcast!