the difference between fewer and less
The Quick AnswerUse less when referring to a single item.
Use fewer when referring to more than one item.
Using Fewer and LessWriters often misuse the words less and fewer. The word less should be used for a single item (e.g., less time). Fewer should be used when there is more than one item (e.g., fewer mice).
- There is less cheese on this plate. cheese – singular)
- There are fewer pieces of cheese on this plate. (pieces – plural)
- There are less pigeons in Trafalgar Square than there used to be.
- In the future, there will be less coins in circulation.
- Fewer people will vote in the forthcoming elections.
Together we're using less bags
(should be fewer bags)
Less napkins. More plants.
(should be fewer napkins)
...fewer carrier bags
A Similar Topic: Amount and NumberLike less, the word amount should be used with a single item. The word number should be used when there is more than one.
- A large amount of people. (people – more than one person)
- A large number of people.
- At that stage, a huge amount of sugar and a vast number of chocolate buttons are poured in and stirred. There is a short wait and then a seemingly infinite number of chocolates whiz along the conveyer belt.
See the lesson Amount, quantity and number.