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    #1

    Confused about using LESS and FEWER

    Dear teachers and members:


    I have learned that FEWER is used for countable and plural nouns whereas LESS is used for uncountable nouns (which cannot be pluralized). I would like to know whether in the comparative form (LESS THAN... FEWER THAN...) the usage is different or not.


    1) This is a recipe you can make in less than 20 minutes.

    2) That means less than zero.

    3) Less than 20% of the student did not pass the test.

    4) That was les than a month ago.

    5) He served less than 30 months in prison.

    a) PRODINTE was among those companies with fewer than 10 employees

    b) Half of all school districts include fewer than 2,000 students in the new English progam.

    c) Only 20 teams scored ten or more points; fewer than in 2013.

    d) She stayed for several days fewer than she regularly did.

    e) In 1950 fewer than half of the population can read or write.


    QUESTION?

    May any of you teach me why LESS THAN was used with countable nouns?
    Last edited by The apprentice; 02-Nov-2014 at 16:14.

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    #2

    Re: Confused about using LESS and FEWER

    First read the Similar Threads below.

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    #3

    Re: Confused about using LESS and FEWER

    Thank you Rover_KE for replying.


    I didn't find anything about it in neither of the two links above. so I decided to continue finding out about this issue in order to understand the basic rules on whether to use LESS THAN or FEWER THAN. My conclusion is as follows:

    Aside from uncountable nouns, LESS THAN is used with countable nouns with cannot be individualized, for example:

    1) This is a recipe you can make in less than 20 minutes.

    20 minutes (definite time) is a span of time that cannot be counted one y one. In other words, it is an amount of time meaning a whole. The recipe takes an indefinite (unknown) amount of time from a definite (known) amount of time; I think (that) the same thing happens with the sentences below.

    2) That means less than zero.

    3) Less than 20% of the student did not pass the test.

    4) That was les than a month ago.

    5) He served less than 30 months in prison.


    a) PRODINTE was among those companies with fewer than 10 employees.

    Though it is unknown (indefinite) the amount of employees the company has, this amount of employees can be counted individually or one by one from a known (definite) one in order to know its exact amount of employees; I also think (that) the same thing happens to the ones below.

    b) Half of all school districts include fewer than 2,000 students in the new English progam.

    c) Only 20 teams scored ten or more points; fewer than in 2013.

    d) She stayed for several days fewer than she regularly did.

    e) In 1950 fewer than half of the population can read or write.


    In sentence (e) and (d) I'm a little confused; I have seen: less than half of the population...'' and ''several days'' is an indefinite amount of days. Must these two sentences be written as follows?

    e) In 1950 less than half of the population (unknown) can read or write. (half of the population is an indefinite amount of persons acting as whole or a mass noun). Must be: in 1950 fewer than 30 millions people can read or write.

    d) She stayed for several days (unknown amount of days) less than she regularly did (it is not known how many days she regularly stays). Must be: she stayed for fewer days than the 10 she regularly did.



    Hoping for your feedbacks, helps and comments about it.
    Last edited by The apprentice; 03-Nov-2014 at 02:09.

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