“Fewer” “a few less” “a little less” or “a few fewer” here

LastLight

Senior Member
German
This is confusing, which of the four should be picked here :
“We were busy in the past few weeks but right now we have
fewer/a few less/a little less/a few fewer orders.

A more than one of the 4 possible? I would probably pick “fewer” but as so often I am not sure about it.
 
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    The rule is “less” with uncountable nouns (like less water or less sugar) and “fewer” with countable nouns like “orders”. You have not included the comparator - fewer than what? - so the necessary modifier for fewer is not obvious.
     

    LastLight

    Senior Member
    German
    That is why I put the having been busy part in front of it to suggest that there were more in the past but apparently that cant serve as a comparator. Should I have just said “....right now we dont have very many/a lot of orders” when leaving the beginning as it is?
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Sorry - I focused on the second half of the sentence, but the first part can serve that function :oops:
    You could simply say “we have fewer orders”. The modifier would then be “somewhat fewer orders” or “a lot fewer orders” etc. The combination of “a few fewer orders” is grammatically correct (It is fine with “a few more orders than last week”.) but it just sounds weird:eek:
     
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