less and fewer - the difference
The Quick AnswerUse less when referring to a single item.
Use fewer when referring to more than one item.
Fewer or LessWriters often misuse the words less and fewer. The word less should be used for a single item (e.g., less time, less space). The word fewer should be used when there is more than one item (e.g., fewer mice, fewer omissions).
- There is less cheese on this plate. (The word cheese is singular.)
- There are fewer pieces of cheese on this plate. (The word pieces is plural.)
- There are less pigeons in Trafalgar Square than there used to be. (should be fewer pigeons)
- In the future, there will be less coins in circulation. (should be fewer coins)
- Fewer people will vote in the forthcoming elections.