🤷🏽♂️ How to use LESS and FEWER in English
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How to use LESS and FEWER in English
The words Less and Fewer (“less” and “less”) mean the same thing; both are the opposite of more. But English learners, and even native speakers, often have trouble knowing which word to use in different situations. Sometimes you can go by ear and choose why one will sound better than the other, but there is a simple rule that makes sure you always know when to use less or fewer and we will make it available to you in this article.
Rules for its use
Less and fewer are two adjectives that although both modify nouns , they nevertheless have different uses. The basic rule to distinguish them is:
“Less” and “Fewer” are adjectives that alter nouns, but they have different missions. The basic rules that you must keep in mind to use “Less” or “Fewer” are:
- You should use “less” when describing singular or uncountable nouns
- So use Fewer when describing plural or countable nouns
Less usage examples
To see the rule in action, study the following examples of the correct use of the word “Less”:
- You should use less sugar in your coffee. (Debería utilizar menos azúcar en su café.)
- I have less money than my brother. (Tengo menos dinero que mi hermano).
- I should have one less problem to solve after today (Debería tener un problema menos que resolver después de hoy).
In each sentence above, the word “less” describes a singular noun.
“Less” with uncountable nouns
When it comes to using “less,” think of nouns that you can’t count. For example, coffee “and” sugar (“cafe” and “azucar”) are considered uncountable nouns, so you would use “less”. See examples using uncountable nouns.
- You should add less sugar to your coffee. (Debes agregar menos azúcar a tu café).
- I need to drink less coffee. (Necesito beber menos café).
- There is less milk in my glass. (Hay menos leche en mi vaso).
- You should add less oil. (Deberías agregar menos aceite).
When you can’t count the noun, it will add the word “less.”
Use “less” for time and money
Time and money could seem more confusing. This is a consequence of the fact that, although it is describing the plural “years”, it nevertheless refers to a singular fragment. In this case, you would use “less” to describe that amount of time or money. For example:
- Completed his internship in less than three years. (Completó su pasantía en menos de tres años).
- In less than four years, he will return home. (En menos de cuatro años, volverá a casa).
- She made less than $ 10. (Ella ganó menos de 10 dólares).
- Tip was less than $ 5 for the meal (La propina fue menos de 5 dólares por la comida).
Since it’s a singular amount of time or money, “less” is the right word for us.
Less by weight
Although it is about weight, this is nevertheless an exception to the accounting rule. However, it works with the singular rule to use “less”.
- My dog weighs less than 90 pounds. Mi perro pesa menos de 90 libras.
- You will need less than four gallons of wáter. (Necesitará menos de cuatro galones de agua).
- That was less than five meters long. (Eso tenía menos de cinco metros de largo).
As you can see, they would use the singular es, which means that they would use “less”.
Percentages with “less”
When it comes to something that is not countable, it will use “less”.
- He drank less than 5% of his milk. (Bebió menos del 5% de su leche).
- It used less than 10% of the water. (Usó menos del 10% del agua).
- I saw you eat less than 5% of that meat before throwing it away. (Te vi comer menos del 5% de esa carne antes de tirarla).
Since these are all uncountable nouns, “less” fits better.
Correct examples of the word “fewer”:
- Fewer than ten people bought tickets for the show, so it was canceled. (Menos de diez personas compraron entradas para el espectáculo, por lo que se canceló.
- I want fewer presents for my birthday this year and more fun with my friends. (Quiero menos regalos para mi cumpleaños este año y más diversión con mis amigos).
- There are fewer puppies in the pen than last time. (Hay menos cachorros en el corral que la última vez).
In each sentence above, the word “fewer” describes a plural or countable noun.
Countable nouns are all those things that can be counted, for example, how you can count “people” or “gifts.” For these nouns, I would use “fewer”.
Here are some examples:
- There are fewer people here than last time. (Hay menos gente aquí que la última vez).
- You should buy fewer gifts. (Deberías comprar menos regalos).
- There were fewer dishes on the table. (Había menos platos en la mesa).
- I saw fewer cars on the street. (Vi menos autos en la calle)
If you can count the noun, then “fewer” is your choice.
The use of “fewer” over time
Fewer will seldom be used over time . However, there are times when it is used for an accounting snippet or general time reference, such as:
- it would be nice to spend fewer minutes cleaning and more Reading. (Sería bueno dedicar menos minutos a limpiar y más a leer).
We hope that this article will really help you to learn two words, which for Latin speakers sometimes create great confusion for them.
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