fewer and less: my biggest pet peeve

19 Jul

Oven roasted french fries

One Less, one less, one less!

Ever since learning the rule for less vs. fewer in English grammar, it bugs me to no end when people misuse them. The C-list DJs on top-40 radio make the mistake all the time, as well as the national ad-campaign for the Gardasil shot (with the whole “one less” woman affected by Cervical cancer deal).

Here’s the break-down:

it’s FEWER french fries. When you can count out items individually, use “fewer.” Fewer cars on the freeway, fewer people at the mall, fewer chapters to read.

It’s LESS mashed potatoes. When items aren’t discernible, less is what you need to say. There was less traffic, less pollution, less homework, etc.

It’s nit-picky and weird, but it’s my biggest pet peeve.

At the end of the day, I’m hoping that “one less” was selected because it sounds better than “one fewer” and not because the ad agency didn’t know the rule.

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One Response to “fewer and less: my biggest pet peeve”

  1. cartoonsbysheila October 2, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    I’m into pet peeves and pet hates too – big time! If you’re interested, you might check out my cartoon blog at http://www.cartoonsbysheila.wordpress.com
    Cheers, Sheila

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