One *less* thing to think about for 12 months?!  One FEWER thing ... !
One *less* thing to think about for 12 months?! One FEWER thing … !



Nice to see that Tesco are changing their signs; see Tesco checks out wording change on the BBC News website.

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 49 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master. Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and former warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

7 thoughts on “Fewer!”

  1. Gareth, you know that I usually bow to your greater wisdom on all things grammatical but this time…………hmmmmm……….You know, I think ‘less’ is correct. ‘Thing’ is singular.

  2. Thank you Dorothy and Doug; Dorothy is my mother-in-law, by the way, Doug, not my mum — my Mum is called Rosalie Saunders. 🙂

    According to AskOxford.com:

    Less means ‘not as much’. Fewer means ‘not as many’.

    This can be a useful definition but removing the word “less” and dropping these definitions into its place doesn’t help in this instance.

    Bristol University offers this distinction:

    Less is used with things/material that cannot be counted or separated into individual parts… Fewer is used with discrete things that can be separated or counted.

    I would argue that ‘thing’ in this context is a discrete, separate, countable item; one of the many discrete, separate and countable items about which you need to think during the next year.

    That’s why I wrote what I did. I could be wrong, but that’s my reading of it. I don’t go along with the simple definition that less is single, fewer is plural.

    There’s quite a fun quiz on the Bristol.ac.uk website.

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