Less vs. Fewer

I feel like starting a campaign for the underprivileged, for the downtrodden, for the underutilized.  I want to start a movement.  There is a word in the English language that needs our support.  And that word is “fewer”.

Somehow, the word “less” has taken over.  I hear statements all the time, such as:

  • He received 200,000 less votes than the winner of the election.
  • Matt Ryan has thrown less interceptions this year.
  • I have less children than you do.

According to Oxford Dictionary,

Use fewer if you’re referring to people or things in the plural (e.g. houses, newspapers, dogs, students, children). For example:

People these days are buying fewer newspapers.

Fewer students are opting to study science-related subjects.

Fewer than thirty children each year develop the disease.

Use less when you’re referring to something that can’t be counted or doesn’t have a plural (e.g. money, air, time, music, rain). For example:

It’s a better job but they pay you less money.

People want to spend less time in traffic jams.

Ironically, when I’m on tour, I listen to less music.

I wonder why less is used more.  And we generally don’t make the mistake in the other direction.  Have you ever heard someone say:

  • I have fewer money that he does.
  • I have fewer time to finish the project.
  • The I exercise, the fewer stress I feel.

I don’t understand why we discriminate against fewer.  It’s a nice word, it never harmed anyone.  Please join my campaign to support fewer.  The more the better.


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