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fewer or less deaths?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by elyssia, Jun 9, 2006.

  1. elyssia Senior Member

    xi'an
    chinese
    Hi
    But today there are more people having families and ____deaths from diseases .
    A less B fewer
    I choose B , because Disease here has plural form , I think it refers to the number os people who died ! But my answer is the wrong one , why ? what is your understanding ?

     
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I would have thought you were right and the answer wrong?

    Fewer deaths - deaths are countable, we have more deaths from XXX or fewer deaths from XXX, not less deaths ....
    I don't think it matters whether disease is written as the generic word disease (diseases in general) or diseases (a variety of different diseases).

    I vote for the wrong answer;)
     
  3. pieanne

    pieanne Senior Member

    Nice Hinterland
    Belgium/French
    So do I! :)
     
  4. elyssia Senior Member

    xi'an
    chinese
    Thanks ! I have more confidence with your help !
     
  5. Gatamariposa

    Gatamariposa Senior Member

    SE London
    UK - English (native), Spanish, French
    I would be interested to know where these questions are coming from, there seem to be some very incorrect answers given with them.

    Purrs Gatita :)
     
  6. elyssia Senior Member

    xi'an
    chinese
    Hi
    From some test papers, I am doubtful about the answers given , at the same time I am not a native speaker , so I come here to seek help and learn !
     
  7. A90Six Senior Member

    London
    England - English.
    But today, there are more people having families and fewer deaths from diseases.
    The plural to consider here is "deaths". The cause does not matter.
    Broadly the rule is that "fewer" refers to number and "less" refers to quantity or amount. "Fewer" should be used when the following noun is plural and "less" when it is singular. In everday speech you will often hear "less" instead of "fewer". One of my pet hates is signs in shops that read, "Ten items or less."

    "Less" can be used when the measurement can be thought of as singular;
    • He is "less" than 50 years old - age.
    • I earn "less" than £50,000 per year - wage (ain't that the truth).
    • The ladder is "less" than seven metres long - gauge.
    When the number concerned is one, then "fewer" is better placed after the noun, "We need one child fewer in each class to comply with the regulations."

    I hope this helps.
     
  8. Gatamariposa

    Gatamariposa Senior Member

    SE London
    UK - English (native), Spanish, French
    They seem very archaic in their wording, as a teacher of languages I am having a hard time with some of them when it comes to choosing the "correct" answer. In truth there are times where as Panj noted you would not really use either answer given and it seems that you are being given language that is not widely used.

    It is great that we can lend a hand though, good luck with it all and I hope we can continue to help,

    Purrs, Gatita :)
     
  9. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Adelaide
    Australia English

    The correct answer is fewer deaths, because deaths is plural.

    Theoretically, it would be possible to say less death.
     
  10. maxiogee Senior Member

    imithe
    The original sentence is bad!
    Are the people who are having families also having fewer/less deaths?
    Or, should the sentence have been properly punctuated…
    But today there are more people having families, and ____deaths from diseases.
     
  11. elyssia Senior Member

    xi'an
    chinese
    Hi
    Thanks for showing the right way .
    I checked it again ,in the original text there is no coma !
     
  12. A90Six Senior Member

    London
    England - English.
    I agree. The "deaths" comment would have been better place first to avoid confusion.
    Perhaps the author was just sleeping at the time! :)
     

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