Grammar Help πŸ€”πŸ“–πŸ–‹οΈ

Sure you could Google it but the internet is a big and scary place. Let’s keep it in house.

Post your grammar queries here!

6 Likes

Help!

Less than one fifth

or

Fewer than one fifth

I think it’s the first (whereas it would be fewer than 19.4%). Is that correct?

Less than.

9 Likes

I also think it would be less than the percentage.

3 Likes

Thanks. So it’s just fewer if it’s a non-percentage/fraction number?

Think as you’re talking numerical/measured quantity it’s always less not fewer

1 Like

I think if the thing is a plural (like, seven girls) then it’s fewer than. But a fraction and a percentage are β€˜a thing’.

5 Likes

Think technically it might be β€˜less’ if you’re just saying β€˜less than 20%’, but β€˜fewer’ if you’re qualifying it with a noun, for example β€˜fewer than 20% of girls’ but most people just use β€˜less’ in both cases.

1 Like

Hmm, it is qualified with a noun but might leave it as β€˜less’? Feels safer maybe.

1 Like

Yeah, less is perfectly acceptable.

The Funkhouser Story

5 Likes

Should be less than a fifth, I think.

1 Like

Grammar is so complicated

:face_with_spiral_eyes::face_with_spiral_eyes::face_with_spiral_eyes:

One day language will be a complete barrier to understanding and the circle will be complete :relaxed:

2 Likes

I thought it was

  • β€œfewer than” when it’s things that can be counted e.g. carrots, pillows, DiSers
  • β€œless than” when it could be any number or percentage e.g less than half of voters, more than 100 litres of water
6 Likes

Also complete irrelevant nonsense for the most part.

2 Likes

If you can count how many there are it’s fewer, if not it’s less. Less water, fewer buckets.

2 Likes

Yes. All that matters is being comprehensible and unambiguous. Sometimes correct grammar helps with that but this is an example of when it makes no difference. β€˜Less than a fifth’ is correct I think, but β€˜fewer than one fifth’ is equally comprehensible.

5 Likes

This

Less is for uncountable, fewer is for countable

I own fewer than 10 dogs (dogs are individually countable)

There is less than 10kg of dog food in the cupboard (weight is continuous, not countable, you can have 1.01kg of dog food but you can’t have 1.01 dogs)

Fewer than 20% of students passed the exam (students are countable)

Fewer than a fifth of students passed the exam (countable)

I ate less than half my dinner (fractions of my dinner are not countable)

I ate less than 50% of my dinner (not countable)

4 Likes

Ah, ace, so sounds like it should be fewer in this instance! What a nightmare.

1 Like