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"fewer" versus "less than"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by homerfarmsby, Oct 21, 2010.

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  1. homerfarmsby New Member

    English
    Please answer each one. These seem tricky.

    No less than 300 people showed up for the concert. OR No fewer than 300 people showed up for the concert?
    I hear and see both.

    Write a paragraph about an environmental issue in 200 words or fewer. OK? You can count words, so "fewer" would be correct?

    I'm told that both "fewer/less than" may be used in these two:
    No fewer/less than eight students flunked the exam.
    No fewer/less than 30 people applied for the job.

    In 25 words or fewer/less, please synopsize what took place.

    fewer / less calories?

    You need to eat less / fewer sweets.

    10 Items or Less / 10 Items or Fewer?
    I see "10 Items or Less" at registers in supermarkets. Shouldn't it be "fewer"?

    Less than five percent of the population will be affected.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this.
     
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    Hello, Homer. I agree with your notion that "fewer" is the word to use when you are dealing with nouns that can be counted. So "fewer" is the word to use in almost every example you've written. I think "less" works well in your last sentence: "Less than five percent of the population will be affected". I'd say this one works because we don't ordinarily speak of "percent" in the plural.
     
  3. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    Homer, you will find many threads addressing this question if you search the forum for fewer less than.
     
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