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Thread: accounts for <fewer/less> than 3% of thyroid carcinoma

  1. #1
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    accounts for <fewer/less> than 3% of thyroid carcinoma

    Dear friends,

    which one is best?:

    1) Hurtle cell carcinoma accounts for fewer than 3% of thyroid carcinoma

    2) Hurtle cell carcinoma accounts for less than 3% of thyroid carcinoma

    I think both are correct, but I'm not sure.
    If both are correct, is there any difference between the 2 sentences?

    Thanks a lot

  2. #2
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    Re: fewer than / less than

    fewer than - it is a numerical comparison

  3. #3
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    Re: fewer than / less than

    Quote Originally Posted by Ecossaise View Post
    fewer than - it is a numerical comparison
    Thanks a lot for your quick answer .

    Is "less than" completely incorrect in this context?

  4. #4
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    Re: fewer than / less than

    Use "less" with a singular noun and "fewer" with a plural.
    I would then say "less than 3%" but "fewer than 3 dogs".

  5. #5
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    Re: fewer than / less than

    There's what we expect bears to do and then there's what they do. Sometimes the two don't match. - Joe Clark, wildlife ecologist

  6. #6
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    Re: fewer than / less than

    It's a nice distinction - If you regard this as a numerical argument [the percentage of cases], then fewer is the word.

    However, if you regard this as an argument of quantity [volume], the you could use "less".

    I think in terms of medical research, the numerical comparison is more likely.

  7. #7
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    Re: fewer than / less than

    He makes less than £200 per week.
    Fewer than 200 people attended.

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