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    #1

    less/fewer

    "I'm not sure I'd be able to write that in less than two days."

    "Less" sounds right to me, but days are countable, so shouldn't "less" be "few"?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Allen165; 09-Nov-2010 at 14:59.

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    #2

    Re: less/fewer

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    "I'm not sure I'd be able to write that in less than two days."

    "Less" sounds right to me, but days are countable, so shouldn't "less" be "few"?

    Thanks!
    No - we think of two days as a (singular) period of time:

    Two days is a long time for 100 words.

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    #3

    Re: less/fewer

    Thank you!

    I meant to write "fewer," not "few."

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    #4

    Re: less/fewer

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    "I'm not sure I'd be able to write that in less than two days."
    "Less" sounds right to me, but days are countable, so shouldn't "less" be "fewer"?
    This is an example of a situation in which the rules of grammar can get messy. If one is counting full days, "fewer" would be correct.

    One reason your sentence sounds right is that many people say 'less than x days'. But there is another reason it sounds right. In your sentence, "less than two days" doesn't mean one day; it means less than two full days.
    For example, you have one day and 19 hours to write something. You can say "I'm not sure I'd be able to write that in less than two days."

    I think this is similar to what fivejedjon is saying, although our approaches may be somewhat different.
    2006

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    #5

    Re: less/fewer

    2006:But there is another reason it sounds right. In your sentence, "less than two days" doesn't mean one day; it means less than two full days.
    For example, you have one day and 19 hours to write something. You can say "I'm not sure I'd be able to write that in less than two days."

    I think this is similar to what fivejedjon is saying, although our approaches may be somewhat different.

    I am not convinced that it is similar to what I am saying.

    In my later example,
    Two days is a long time for 100 words, we are indeed dealing with two full days. The reason that many people use less in sentences such as Jasmin's, and a singular verb in examples such as mine is that we consider the two days (or, indeed 22 days) to be a (singular) period of time.

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    #6

    Re: less/fewer

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    2006:But there is another reason it sounds right. In your sentence, "less than two days" doesn't mean one day; it means less than two full days.
    For example, you have one day and 19 hours to write something. You can say "I'm not sure I'd be able to write that in less than two days."

    I think this is similar to what fivejedjon is saying, although our approaches may be somewhat different.

    I am not convinced that it is similar to what I am saying. I may well have made a wrong assumption.

    In my later example,
    Two days is a long time for 100 words, we are indeed dealing with two full days. The reason that many people use less in sentences such as Jasmin's, and a singular verb in examples such as mine is that we consider the two days (or, indeed 22 days) to be a (singular) period of time.
    Yes, in your partially underlined sentence and in a sentence like 'Five miles is too far to walk.", when one is talking about a "unit" of time, distance or money, it is considered that we are talking about a unit and a singular verb is used.

    But I am not sure the above relates to 'less' and 'fewer'.
    As I mentioned, this is a messy part of grammar. So maybe we are giving Jasmin two different reasons we think "less" is okay in her sentence.

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