The following rant is prompted by
I’d much rather use self-checkout than wait in the express line behind people who don’t understand the concept of an item limit.
from Supermarket Self-Checkouts Being Replaced With People at Outside the Beltway as seen on Instapundit.
This is going to be a rant. But it might be fun.
There is no such thing as LESS than 10 items. The number of individual items that are smaller than 10 are counted in whole numbers: 1-2-3… 9. When you count such items– those that we’ve already stipulated can only be counted by whole numbers, — “equal to,” “more than,” and “fewer than ten,” are the only grammatically correct ways to make comparisons.
“Fewer” modifies a noun that can be subdivided into whole number increments, even though those increments could be further divided into smaller whole number increments. I have one cup of sugar. You have two. You have more than I. I have 1 1/2 cups. You have 3/4 C. I have twice as much sugar as you do.
On the other hand…
“Lesser” modifies things that really are not describable in terms of whole numbers.”This glass is less full than that one.”
I do not expect this blog to get a whole lot of traffic. But I do hope that some who I cajole into stopping by, will. In this post, I’m talking to you.
I know I’ve asked a lot of you over the years. Thank you. If you could get the fewer than/lesser than thing and spread it around, I would appreciate it. I’m not asking that be grammar Nazis, just that you help me maintain some standards. 🙂