Less vs fewer. A simple tip to get it right every time

Posted on , by Sarah Townsend in Confusables, Grammar articles, Spelling tips, Writing tips no comments
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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.

Bonus tip

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.

For example:

  • Using too many words can confuse your message.
  • Too much confusion can prevent customers from choosing your business.

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