Fewer!

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

*Tuts*

Update

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

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 48 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert, I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, write, draw and laugh… a lot. Scrum master at Vision Ltd, Dundee. 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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