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  1. Newbie
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    • Join Date: Feb 2008
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    #1

    Cool What is different between "less" and "fewer"

    Hi,

    I try to learn English myself and I need help with something. What is different in meaning between "less" and "fewer"? Is it same or is there serious different in meaning?

  2. heidita's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
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      • Europe
      • Current Location:
      • Europe

    • Join Date: Feb 2007
    • Posts: 1,436
    #2

    Re: What is different between "less" and "fewer"

    Quote Originally Posted by elf View Post
    Hi,

    I try to learn English myself and I need help with something. What is different in meaning between "less" and "fewer"? Is it same or is there serious different in meaning?
    I found this article especially interesting on that matter:

    The rule usually encountered is: use "fewer" for things you
    count (individually), and "less" for things you measure: "fewer
    apples", "less water". Since "less" is also used as an adverb
    ("less successful"), "fewer" helps to distinguish "fewer successful
    professionals" (fewer professionals who are successful) from "less
    successful professionals" (professionals who are less successful).
    (No such distinction is possible with "more", which serves as the
    antonym of both "less" and "fewer".)

    "Less" has been used in the sense of "fewer" since the time of
    King Alfred the Great (9th century), and is still common in that
    sense, especially informally in the U.S.; but in British English it
    became so rare that the 1st edition of the OED (in a section
    prepared in 1902) gave no citation more recent than 1579 and gave
    the usage label "Now regarded as incorrect." The 2nd edition of the
    OED added two 19th-century citations, and changed the usage label to
    "Frequently found but generally regarded as incorrect."
    source: AUE: FAQ excerpt: "less" vs "fewer"

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