Feed

At Stranger Collective we love to Feed. We do it every ten days (or taking a Day 10 as we call it). It's about keeping our thinking fresh by continually nourishing the parts of our brains that deliver those lightbulb moments so that we stay original, vibrant and ahead of the curve.

Check out how we've been Feeding lately...

 

Pavement pedantry: fewer vs. less

IMG_5607

An unexpected item is in the bagging area – and it’s the word ‘less’.

As a grammar pedant, even a trip to the supermarket can be a ruffling experience. The culprit – a  ‘Ten  items or less’ sign. The basket only aisle should actually read,  ‘Fewer than ten items’ – which perhaps isn’t as catchy, but is grammatically correct.

While this may seem like a small and unimportant mistake, the distinction between ‘less’ and ‘fewer’ is something every sub-editor worth their salt will pick up on. Because they’re not actually the same thing.

Grammar nit-picker Ian Bruton-Simmons, of the Queen’s English Society, thinks we should be up in arms about the dilution of the less and fewer debacle. “Language should not be confused because it weakens it”, he says. “It’s common sense – fewer is for numbers of separate items or people, less is for quantities not thought of in numbers: there were fewer people in the shops because there was less money,” he says. Learning the distinction actually makes language way more efficient, and gives you another way of asserting your linguistic pedantry on friends and family (which they love).

So wield your red pens, and descend in grammatical fury towards your local supermarket. And fetch us some biscuits while you’re there.

Rule of thumb:

Use ‘fewer’ with objects that can be counted. Like days and people, and items in your basket (looking at you Tesco). ‘Fewer people might get this wrong’. 

Use ‘less’ when referring to things that can’t be individually counted. Such as, ‘feeling less confused about this grammar issue’. 

Reply

nbewsletter signup




You Might Also Like

Dos and don’ts…


Dos and don'ts...

We’re taking another look at those pesky apostrophes…

Read More 〉

Pavement pedantry: a lot


Pavement pedantry: a lot

This one happens a lot

Read More 〉

Pavement pedantry: which vs. that


Pavement pedantry: which vs. that

We take on the ‘that’ vs. ‘which’ grammar debacle…

Read More 〉