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Thread: less / fewer

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    #1

    less / fewer

    The summer heat is disappearing and school districts are starting another year with less staffing and programs. California students are returning to public schools with fewer staff per student than any other state. Yet with the challenges facing families today, we need more adults supporting our children, not less.
    (From Schools need community cooperation - pasadenasun.com)


    If this paragraph contains any errors, please correct them. Here's my try:

    ...and programs ---> ...and fewer programs
    ...fewer staff ---> ...fewer staff members
    ...not less ---> ...not fewer

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    #2

    Re: less / fewer

    Quote Originally Posted by sunsunmoon View Post
    If this paragraph contains any errors, please correct them. Here's my try:

    ...and programs ---> ...and fewer programs
    ...fewer staff ---> ...fewer staff members
    ...not less ---> ...not fewer

    Is this an error? With so many native speakers not understanding the 'less/fewer' difference, I am beginning to think that it is now artificial.

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    #3

    Re: less / fewer

    I'm wondering if understanding the difference well is no big deal.

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    #4

    Re: less / fewer

    Staff is fine. It doesn't need to be staff members.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #5

    Re: less / fewer

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Staff is fine. It doesn't need to be staff members.


    This example makes me think that "fewer staff" should have been "fewer staff members."

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    #6

    Re: less / fewer

    Quote Originally Posted by sunsunmoon View Post
    This example makes me think that "fewer staff" should have been "fewer staff members."
    I agree with Barb - "Staff is fine. It doesn't need to be staff members."
    Last edited by 5jj; 23-Sep-2011 at 03:09. Reason: typo

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    #7

    Re: less / fewer

    Could you explain what a staff member is, then?

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    #8

    Re: less / fewer

    smooth

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: less / fewer

    Quote Originally Posted by sunsunmoon View Post
    Could you explain what a staff member is, then?
    A staff member/member of staff is, as you know, one of the people working for an organisation. The plural is staff members/'members of staff', but we frequently use just 'staff'

    As several of us have told you, sunsunmoon, not everyone's language is impeccable, sometimes usage is not yet established, and many native speakers simply do not care very much about the finer points of language. In your recent posts, you have asked about a number of points that would not bother most native speakers.

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    #10

    Re: less / fewer

    I'm aware that not everyone's language is impeccable. Thank you.

    Is the "staff" in "fewer staff" a countable noun? Can "staff," not "staffs," be used as a plural noun?

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