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Author Topic: One less word in English?  (Read 5362 times)
roarde
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« on: July 12, 2011, 06:15:00 pm »

Where I've been taught to use the word "fewer", I'm invariably seeing or hearing "less"; even from those known to be sticklers for the style manual.

So is "fewer" gone, leaving us with one less word?
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Robert
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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2011, 07:07:54 pm »

Where I've been taught to use the word "fewer", I'm invariably seeing or hearing "less"; even from those known to be sticklers for the style manual.

So is "fewer" gone, leaving us with one less word?

Using "less" when "fewer" is the right word drives my husband crazy. With me, it's one of a large number of common grammatical errors. It doesn't bother me as much as using "it's" as a possessive pronoun. The possessive pronoun is "its"; "it's" is a contraction for "it is" or "it has." I also can't stand the so-called greengrocer's plural--using 's to form a plural. NO, NO, NO! "Lemon's" is not the plural of "lemon."

I have given up hope.
--GrannyGeek
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2011, 10:49:35 pm »

It's a losing battle. If you can't beat'em, join'em.
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roarde
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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2011, 07:22:05 am »

My question was somewhat of a complaint, but moreso a question. Languages change all the time. I don't expect it, but am kinda hoping someone lately or currently in school might verify that, yeah, it's being taught the other way now. Of course, that'd be hard to do if one learned the new way and didn't know what I meant, so here're the very basics of the way I learned:

Fewer buckets, less water. Less grass, fewer blades of it.
Buckets and blades can be counted, water and grass cannot.
--and--
"15 items or fewer this lane", regardless of what signage the grocer has posted.
                                    (^ incorrect punctuation by rule, but clearer. I'll stop while I still can. ;-))
So, have the rules changed?

BTW: Sedans, coupes, SUV's, convertibles, and ATV's are all correct plurals as are Chevrolets and Chevy's. And that's been the rule for as long as I know. The apostrophe when making acronyms or contractions plural irks me, but it has been the rule and pluralizing them without the ' causes its own problems.
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Robert
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« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2011, 11:19:47 pm »

I've always been a stickler for correct English, but I don't ever remember learning the difference between fewer than less, except that I know that you can't say fewer water, but I would use less and fewer interchangeably for buckets.
The things I have trouble with is the expression the data "is"; the verb should be "are" because data are plural. Datum is the singular version of that word.
My husband used to always say went when he meant gone. That irked me.
I also find it weird to say mothers-in-law rather than mother-in-laws.
I remember being taught in school the difference between set and sit, and I didn't know anyone in my generation who mixed those two up, but my mother-in-law will say set instead of sit.
Another word that has become part of our language: irregardless - why not just say regardless?
I have also heard people say conversate when they mean converse.
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RJARRRPCGP
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2011, 12:43:20 pm »


 It doesn't bother me as much as using "it's" as a possessive pronoun. The possessive pronoun is "its"; "it's" is a contraction for "it is" or "it has."

QFT!
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Murdock
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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2011, 03:01:22 am »

I prefer to see fewer irrelevant posts. Grin
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The Headacher
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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2011, 09:31:49 am »

Wow, learned something new in The Lounge! I probably did that wrong until now. I'll try not to make this mistake again.
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