The words “fewer” and “less” are both used to indicate a smaller quantity or amount, but they are used in different ways.
“Fewer” is used when referring to a smaller number of countable things, such as objects that can be counted individually. For example:
- “There are fewer apples in the basket than there were yesterday.”
- “I have fewer friends now than I did in high school.”
- “He made fewer mistakes on the test this time.”
In each of these examples, “fewer” is used because the noun that follows it is countable and can be quantified.
“Less,” on the other hand, is used when referring to a smaller amount or quantity of something that cannot be counted individually, such as a substance or an abstract idea. For example:
- “I need to drink less coffee in the morning.”
- “She has less experience than the other job applicants.”
- “There is less sugar in this recipe than in the original.”
In each of these examples, “less” is used because the noun that follows it is not countable or quantifiable in the same way as a countable noun.
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