<Fewer/Less> than one percent of Spanish students around the world ...

epistolario

Senior Member
Tagalog
I know that you use few for count nouns and less for noncount nouns. I'm asking because my word processor is asking me to change fewer to less in the ff context:

Fewer
than one percent of Spanish students around the world have mastered the subjunctive.
 
  • Floob

    Member
    England - English
    I'd wait to see what other people think, but I don't see anything wrong with that sentence! I think I'd say fewer, or less than. :)
     

    Tabac

    Senior Member
    U. S. - English
    I know that you use few for count nouns and less for noncount nouns. I'm asking because my word processor is asking me to change fewer to less in the ff context:

    Fewer than one percent of Spanish students around the world have mastered the subjunctive.
    I think it depends on what your reference is, students or percent. Students (plural > fewer); percent (singular noun of quantity > less).

    I would be wary of one who argues too strongly one way or the other.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think students are more obviously countable than a congregation, and Tabac is going to be even warier of me.

    There are fewer of the students, so there are fewer than 1% of the students; there is less than 1% of the butter.

    There are fewer students, so there are fewer than 1% of students. There is less than 1% of butter sounds odd, though less than 1% of butter comes from goats is fine.

    For some reason, less than 1% of students sounds much less wrong than less than 1% of the students, but I'd still say it was wrong.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I know that you use few for count nouns and less for noncount nouns. I'm asking because my word processor is asking me to change fewer to less in the ff context:

    Fewer
    than one percent of Spanish students around the world have mastered the subjunctive.
    Your sentence is fine grammatically, despite the nagging spell-checker, however note that "Spanish students" (like English students, etc.) can be either students of Spanish citizenship OR students of the Spanish language.

    I would say something like "Fewer than one percent of Spanish-language students around the world have mastered the subjunctive."

    I know. I'm being picky since "around the world" gives a hint.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I vote with Tabac.

    If your focus is "students", fewer than 1%.

    If your focus is "per cent", less than 1%.

    I, too, would be wary of anyone arguing too strongly one way or the other.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I vote with Tabac.

    If your focus is "students", fewer than 1%.

    If your focus is "per cent", less than 1%.

    I, too, would be wary of anyone arguing too strongly one way or the other.
    But, Loob, you would never say How much do 1% of the students come to?, would you? You must explain to me why the fact doesn't matter, before you start being wary of anyone.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Try it this way.

    Would you say?:

    1. How many do 1% of the students come to?

    or

    2. How much do 1% of the students come to?

    If you'd prefer 1. then surely it should be fewer.
    TT, I prefer "how many does 1% of the students come to?"

    So I'm not sure your question is conclusive:D
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Aw come on guys, you are discussing eccentric and unreal questions. It's no wonder you are quibbling over the answers. How many angels can dance on the point of a full stop? Is a the circular part of a comma bigger or smaller than a full stop. What is the standard aspect ratio of the vertical part of an exclamation mark.
    The real world does not include asking the question "How many/much do/does 1% of the students come to?"
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I think it depends on what your reference is, students or percent. Students (plural > fewer); percent (singular noun of quantity > less).

    I would be wary of one who argues too strongly one way or the other.
    So let's revert - willingly on my part - to Tabac's excellent answer, quoted above.
     

    moonglow

    Banned
    English – America
    <<Moderator note: I have merged moonglow's question with a previous, but hardly definitive, discussion>>

    Is it:

    Fewer or less than 10 percent of the people were affected.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    . . . my word processor is asking me to change fewer to less in the ff following context:

    Fewer
    than one percent of Spanish students around the world have mastered the subjunctive.
    Your word processor has not mastered English grammar.
     

    Ivan_I

    Senior Member
    Russian
    It is very interesting which one is correct between

    1. How many do 1% of the students come to?
    and
    TT, I prefer "how many does 1% of the students come to?"
    My wonky analysis:

    1) How many do 1% of the students come to? – How many (students) do one percent of the students come to?
    2) How many does 1% of the students come to? - How many (students) does one percent of the students come to?
    It seems to me that 2 is more logical.

    But wouldn't it be better to rephrase it, by and large, into something like

    3) How many students are 1 percent (of all the students)?
     
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