Anyone who has ever spoken to a pedant or a linguist will be more than aware that less and fewer are to be confused with one another at a great risk. Used as comparatives, less is used for mass nouns (‘less chocolate’), while fewer for count nouns (‘fewer pieces of cake’).
A lot of people, however, use less when they mean fewer – though never the other way around; for some reason saying ‘less biscuits’ sounds better than saying ‘fewer cake’. On the flip side, more is used for both mass and count nouns, causing no such confusion there.
Where did this obscure rule come from? Continue reading