I’ve been seeing and hearing this particular error frequently lately so I think it’s time for a friendly reminder.
I have altered plenty of grammatically incorrect, publicly displayed, signs in my day but I have refrained from modifying the many incorrect grocery store checkout signs…so far.
Do you know when to say fewer and when to say less? Like many of the everyday grammar rules, there is an easy way to remember this one.
Again, if you can count it, the correct term is probably “fewer.” You can count items at the grocery store so the sign should really say: 10 Items or Fewer.
Not everything can be counted. When referring to items that you cannot count, the correct term is “less.”
In this case, the exceptions have their own rule:
Distance, Money, Time and Weight are always “less,” never “fewer.”
Those rules aren’t so difficult, are they?
If you have an example of a case that doesn’t follow the rule or the exception, let us know in the comments. (You can comment from the upper right corner of this page or reply below.)
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