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    #1

    less than or fewer than

    Hello,

    1. In the following sentence, is less than correct? Should it not be fewer than?

    Yet, by 1850, the Hudsonís Bay Company of Canada, and other trappers, succeeded in reducing beaver populations from more than 60 million to less than 20 million.

    2. The loss of beavers from much of their original range is also of importance for other species.

    In this sentence, is much OK or should it be more?

    Your explanation would be much appreciated. Thank you!

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    #2

    Re: less than or fewer than

    1. Oddly enough, population is uncountable, in the same way that money is uncountable, so 'less than' is correct.

    2.Much is correct, as range is uncountable. More is a comparative. As your example does not provide another range from another time, there is no comparison.

    The time frame of this example writing is of significance. "The loss of beavers from much of their original range is also of importance for other species" requires that this writing be contemporary with the event (the stated loss of beavers). If this is a modern writing about history (as I suspect), then was is required.
    Last edited by J&K Tutoring; 17-Oct-2015 at 14:16.

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    #3

    Re: less than or fewer than

    I was wrong with the word more in the second example! It should have been most. Sorry! Would most be wrong in that example?

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    #4

    Re: less than or fewer than

    Changing much to most would change the meaning significantly, but both are correct grammatically.

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    #5

    Re: less than or fewer than

    The sentence uses "populations". That seems to indicate that it is countable. If "populations" remains, then I would use "fewer".
    Last edited by MikeNewYork; 18-Oct-2015 at 01:44. Reason: typo

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    #6

    Re: less than or fewer than

    The noun population is indeed countable if we want to consider the total number specific things in one geographically distinct place versus a population of similar things in some other place. I seriously doubt there can ever have been 60 million populations of beaver in 60 million different places.

    If that were correct, then there would have been exponentially more total beaver than the example suggests.






    Not a zoologist
    Last edited by J&K Tutoring; 18-Oct-2015 at 02:25.

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