This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Fewer, or even less - a rant.

Some things don't matter. I know that.

It doesn't stop them sending you demented, though.

This less versus fewer thing. It trips people up all the time. Why, it trips me up, sometimes - upon which all my friends and relations, tired of my ranting, will shout FEWER! in accusation and, naturally, glee, and I have to apologise.

Sometimes I wonder if it would be better if the word fewer disappeared from the language. It would save subsequent generations a lot of grief, and I must admit we don't actually need the word: after all, everyone knows what we mean when we use less when we should really be using fewer.

In the meantime, perhaps we should avoid both less and fewer and go with not as much and not as many, respectively.

Or perhaps we could all try thinking before we speak.

Now that really would be utterly revolutionary.

Word To Use Today: demented. This word is from one-and-a-bit Latin words: de, which can mean more or less anything to do with removal or opposites, and mēns, which means mind.

1 comment:

  1. I try to be careful about fewer and less and jump up and down at tills that say: 10 items or less even though you're right and we DO all know what that means.
    "No more than ten items" would do it !