Hey, guys. I'm Alex. Thanks for clicking and welcome to this lesson on
"less" and "fewer". So these are comparative adjectives that we use when we want to compare two
things, usually. Or when we want to make a statement that talks about how something
is decreasing or a decreased number of something or somebody is happening,
etc. So, we have two sentences here.
We have, "Fewer/less people today carry cash",
and we have, "There is fewer," or,
"less privacy today because of social media".
So, which of these words do you think is correct in these two sentences? All
right, so again, I'm going to give you the correct answer,
and then I'm going to explain why it's the answer and what the rule is.
So, the first sentence we have,
"Fewer", or, "less people today carry cash".
What do you think it is? All right,
if you said, "Fewer people today carry cash.",
you are absolutely correct. Okay.
I'll explain in a moment.
Stick with me. Again, the second one,
"There is fewer or less privacy today because of social media".
The answer here you have probably deduced is "less".
So, why? Why do we say "fewer people" and not "less people".
Maybe you're walking around right now and you're saying,
"Yeah, there are less people here than I expected".
Or, "There are less bottles of water than what we really need".
Okay? If you're saying those things,
you're wrong, and I'm going to tell you why.
Grammatically you're wrong. You're not wrong as a person.
As a human being, I'm sure you're lovely.
However, grammatically, it's incorrect. Okay, so "fewer"...
...fewer we use with countable nouns, all right?
So if you can say one,
two, three, four of whatever the noun is,
you can use "fewer" with it.
So, for example, people. You can count people.
You can count water bottles.
You can count computers. You can count tables,
etc., etc., etc. Okay? So if it's countable,
use "fewer", and if you've probably discerned by now,
with "less" this is used with uncountable nouns.
Okay? Now, what I mean by uncountable nouns,
things you can't count. These can be abstract concepts like privacy or freedom,
or liberty, or any number of things that you can't count such as water.
Right? So you don't say, "Wow.
There is fewer water in this bottle than what I was expecting or what I
hoping for". You'd say, "No.
There's less water in here than what I would like".
Okay? So, again, if you can count it,
use "fewer". If you can't count it,
use "less". Very simple rule, easy to follow.
If you would like to test your understanding of this grammar point,
please check out the quiz on engvid.com.
Good luck, guys.
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