Annoyances: fewer/less

Whilst there is only one word for more, there are two words for its opposite – fewer and less, and they are sometimes used incorrectly.

Happily this is a very simple error, with a very simple rule to prevent yourself from falling into the trap.

Use fewer when you are talking about things that can be counted. For example:

There are fewer people here than I thought.

He has fewer classes than me this semester.

Use less when you are talking about things that can’t be counted in the traditional way. For example:

I prefer my coffee with a little less milk.

I have less motivation to work than I do to play.

Hopefully if you learn this rule, you will make fewer mistakes, and find yourself less susceptible to making this error!