Less vs fewer. A simple tip to get it right every time
There are two types of people – those who are irritated by supermarket Five items or less signs (Fewer! It should be FEWER!) and those who don’t know the difference. Do you know the super simple tip to tell them apart?
Use LESS for things you can’t count:
- less sunshine
- less work
- less coffee
Use FEWER for things you can count (like the items in your shopping basket):
- fewer words
- fewer buttons
- fewer cupcakes
So there you go. If you can count it, use FEWER. If you can’t, use LESS.
More tips = fewer mistakes + less confusion.
Once you know that things you can count are called ‘count nouns’ and things you can’t count are called ‘mass nouns’ you can apply the same logic to MANY and MUCH.
Use MANY for things you can count, and MUCH for things you can’t.
- Using too many words can confuse your message.
- Too much confusion can prevent customers from choosing your business.
Coming soon: The Little Book of Confusables
Wouldn’t you love a handy guide to those tricksy spellings that trip you up and make you look bad? Words like PRACTICE and PRACTISE, AFFECT and EFFECT, or IMPLY and INFER.
The Little Book of Confusables shares simple, memorable spelling tips and examples for more than 500 of the words you find most confusing. Supercharge your vocabulary and avoid embarrassing mistakes! Sign up to my monthly newsletter for updates.