Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Are There Fewer Calories in That Cake?

The words less and fewer mean the same but they're not used in the same way. Nowadays, these words are often interchanged but there is a difference between the two.

Less is used when you're talking about something that cannot be counted: "Can I have less sugar in my coffee?" or "Will you give me less juice, please."

Fewer, on the other hand, is used when you can count what you're talking about: "I'd like fewer students this semester" and "They have fewer desserts in this restaurant."

The problems come in, though, when it comes to calories and money. You say fewer calories and less money. This is doesn't make sense because it's hard to literally count calories (although many try) and at the same time, we always count money (as many of us know too well).

Where less and fewer are concerned, it's best to follow the rule I mentioned. When in doubt, though, consult a dictionary. Or better yet, ask the Internet.


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