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When To Use Less And Fewer

Referencing Styles : APA | Pages : 1
  • University: Denison University
  • Country: US

There is relevant confusion that haunts the writers regarding the adjective ‘less’ and ‘fewer’ as there is certain difference, which needs to be used with precision. Both less and fewer is considered adjectives, whereas they modify nouns in a sentence to support the relevant abstractions or other intangibles stuff that cannot be seen. Hence, it is detected that for singular noun less adjective is used, as it helps in describing the appropriate abbreviation of the particular sentence. In addition, the ‘fewer’ adjective is only used when plural nouns are present in the sentence, as it helps in supporting the construction of the sentence. Therefore, in context with the perspective of grammar ‘fewer’ needs to be used with nouns for countable objectives and concepts. There is a relevant rule, where ‘less’ needs to be used only with grammatically singular nouns. For example, ‘there is less flour in the canister’ and ‘there are fewer cups of flour in the canister’. Both the example provides adequate information regarding the use of adjective ‘Less’ and ‘Fewer’ in a sentence.

However, the current usage indicates that ‘less’ is used with both countable and noncountable nouns in informal discourse environments. The use of fewer is considered natural in an attempt to conform the standpoint grammar. The use of less in both countable a non-countable noun is considered hypercorrections, which is conducted to support the grammatically correct sentence. However, the aspect of both ‘less’ and ‘fewer’ are different under original shape, comparative grade, and top grade. The aspect of ‘less’ changes to ‘little’ under original shape, while under comparative grade it changes to less, and under top grade it changes to ‘least’. In the similar perspective the overall the aspect of ‘fewer’ mainly changes to ‘few’ in original shape, while remain same under comparative grade aspect and again changes to ‘fewest’ in top grade aspect. Therefore, the adjective of ‘few’ is mainly associated with the quantity, while ‘less’ is associated with shape or appearance. Thus, writers can use the more formal fewer and more spontaneous less, as the stylistic choice. There has been certain confusion in United Kingdom, where the supermarkets in the region had to change the signs at the checkout from ‘10 items it less’ to ‘10 items or fewer’. Hence, it is detected that ‘less’ is only used in a sentence, when there is only one noun. On the other hand, ‘fewer’ is used when there is more than on noun present in a sentence.

The grammatical abbreviations of the adjective ‘less’ and ‘few’ has always been challenged, where individuals could use the wrong word in informal writing or speech just to make is sound better, as it is not considered a serious error. However, in formal writing the abbreviations of both few and less needs to be conducted in accurate, as it creates relevant violations grammatically. It is easily to confuse less and fewer, as they both represent comparative adjective, where the conundrum of less and fewer can be segregated under countable and non-countable nouns. The meaning of fewer is not as many, while the meaning of less is not as much, where the meaning of the sentence mainly changes with the use of each adjective in the sentence. Hence, the writer needs to be cautious in using the adjective in their sentence for adequately depicting the meaning of less or fewer.

Would you use fewer or less to describe items that can be counted?

From the historical perspective and ‘less’ has always been used in English with countable nouns, which help in supporting the sentence structure. During 18th Century the distinction between less and fewer was originated, where both the adjective has been used for constructing the relevant sentences. Therefore, it can be understood that when speaking of number, the word most commonly used are ‘Less’ and ‘Fewer’ in a sentence. There is a simple difference between the countable noun and non-countable nouns, where countable nouns are mainly used for adjective ‘less’, while the non-countable noun is mainly used for adjective ‘fewer’. There are two types of nouns such as mass nouns and count nouns that is used in a sentence. Hence, it is necessary for detecting the nature of the nouns before using the adjective, as it helps in constructing an appropriate sentence structure. Thus, it is detected that the both ‘fewer’ and ‘less’ has been used since 1770s in oxford dictionary for determining the accurate level of sentence structure.

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