Misused Words

Fewer and Less

Fewer refers to a quantity that one can count.

There are fewer candidates running in the school election this year than last year.

Less refers to a quantity that one cannot count even though it can be measured.

The less sodium that you use, the healthier you will be.

However, time, money, weight, and distance are exceptions. Therefore, use less for these even though you can count them.

The wait at the emergency room was less than two hours.
The cost of this item is less than five dollars.
The young man weighs less than 80 kilograms.
The distance from here to the town is less than 10 kilometers.
Practice

Choose the correct answer for each of the two practice sentences below by clicking on the correct answer.

(1) There was (fewer, less) snow this year compared to last year.

(2) There were (fewer, less) accidents this winter compared to last winter.

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