ENGLISHMiscellaneous English

Less (than) & Fewer (than)

Less (than) & Fewer (than)

1. We use LESS (THAN) with uncountable nouns and FEWER (THAN) with plural countable nouns.

a) Mix less water with the paint. (WATER is an uncountable noun.)
b) This proposal will mean fewer jobs. (JOB is a countable noun.)

NOTE: We don’t use LESS before a comparative adjective; e.g.

INCORRECT: It is less hotter than it was yesterday.
CORRECT: It is less hot than it was yesterday.

2. When we talk about a DISTANCE or SUM OF MONEY we use LESS (not FEWER).

INCORRECT: Reema said that the market was two kilometers away, but I thought it was fewer than that.
CORRECT: Reema said that the market was two kilometers away, but I thought it was less than that.

INCORRECT: No flat could be found here for fewer than 60 lac rupees.
CORRECT: No flat could be found here for less than 60 lac rupees.

INCORRECT: I travelled fewer than 400 kilometers.
CORRECT: I travelled less than 400 kilometers.

3. With percentages we can use either of LESS THAN and FEWER THAN.

Less than 40 percent of the students were present in the school today.
= Fewer than 40 percent of the students were present in the school today.

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Maha Gupta

Maha Gupta

Founder of www.examscomp.com and guiding aspirants on SSC exam affairs since 2010 when objective pattern of exams was introduced first in SSC. Also the author of the following books:

1. Maha English Grammar (for Competitive Exams)
2. Maha English Practice Sets (for Competitive Exams)

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