Monday, September 3, 2012

Grammar Police Monday - Stand Up And Be Counted


Today were going to examine the difference between words that indicate number and those that indicate quantity or amount. Words indicating amount are words like less, little and much. Words used when referring to number are words like few, fewer and many. Basically amount words refer to things that are measured in bulk or volume, while number words refer to things that can be counted.

You'll drink less lemonade if you drink fewer glasses.

The amount of lemonade in a container (even if that container is a person) is measured in volume, so we use less, but the number of glasses can be counted, so for that we use fewer.  The word more can be used for either one.

A common mistake is to use an 'amount' word (e.g. less) when referring to people. People can be counted, so use few, fewer or many. On the other hand, 'amount' words are correct when referring to units of time or money, unless you are speaking of specific coins or bills (e.g. fewer pennies).

I hope you found this helpful. Thanks for visiting. :)

24 comments:

  1. When it comes to worrying about what the Grammar Police think of my writing I couldn't care fewer!

    Good post! :-)

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  2. I never catch those little things! Thanks for the help! :)

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    1. I'm the same way with some of these topics. I've probably made quite a few mistakes with this one myself.
      You're welcome. Thanks for stopping by. :)

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    1. Hopefully, I'll make fewer mistakes by reading more Grammar Police posts! (;

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  4. The idea of less people appeals to me... are they missing something or perhaps they've shrunk? ;)

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    1. I'd gladly use 'less' if it caused shrinkage. LOL
      Thanks for visiting, Lynda. :)

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  5. Good was to distinguish the difference.
    And since your blog's title is part of an AC/DC song, I'll now have it in my head all day...

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  6. Good WAY. Guess my brain took off Labor Day as well.

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    1. No worries. I give everyone an (pardon the pun) editing pass when it comes to blog comments. LOL Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  7. Hah! I love those sheep. :D Great post!

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  8. This helps tremendously! I sometimes get amounts confused but making them make sense is easy! Great post :)

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  9. I just like this because it has a sheep graphic with it. ;)

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    1. Hahaha - I figured you would.

      Thanks for your faithful support of GPM. Hang in there. It's going to get nudged a couple of times in the next few weeks, but I'm trying not to totally preempt anymore.

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  10. Short, but sweet. :-) I love how you break everything down into easy-to-understand steps.

    p.s. I love the sheep!!

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    1. Thanks! :)

      *makes mental note to include more sheep in the graphics*
      :P

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  11. I always associate "less" with words like "rice" or "sand" because it's impossible to count!

    Speaking of "sheep," interesting word...like deer it's both singular and plural. One sheep, eight sheep. Two deer, no deer.

    I wish my students would read your blog :)

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    1. Ha! Send them here. I try and keep it family friendly. ;)

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  12. I am addicted to your Grammar Mondays. Even when I know the rules, it's always good to have them reinforced!

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    1. Thank you. That's nice to know. :) (Don't tell anyone, but they're a good refresher for me, too. ;)

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