Less vs. Fewer

Since they are similar in their meanings. They cause problems for beginners because it is difficult for new learners to choose when and where to use them.

What Are Their Differences?

'Less' refers to a reduction in the amount of something. While 'fewer' refers to a reduction in the number of something.


Singular or Plural Nouns?

  • 'Less':

is followed by a singular countable noun.

People produce less garbage.

  • 'Fewer':

is followed by a plural countable noun.

I use fewer tissues, because I want to help saving the nature.

What They Refer to

  • 'Less':

refers to an amount.

  • 'Fewer':

refers to a number.

Less and Few as Pronouns

  • 'Less':

can be used as a pronoun.

Less is used to grow red roses.

'Less' refers to a reduction in the 'amount' of 'water'.

  • 'Fewer':

cannot be used as a pronoun.

Fewer people are worried about Corona virus these days. (Not "Fewer are worried about Corona virus these days.")

The Last Differences

  • 'Less':

can be an adverb, a determiner, or a pronoun.

  • 'Fewer':

is the comparative adjective for the term few.

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