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You are wrong about “less” vs. “less”

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At the grocery store counter, “10 items or less” is displayed and “10 items or few!! ‘”And did your monocle fall off due to self-righteous cramps? Well, it’s not that simple, so don’t call the manager, English professor yet. Distract me right now. There are no strict rules about whether to use “less” or “less”.

It is widely taught that “less” refers to numbers and “less” refers to quantities. Tons The exception, and it wasn’t a rule in the first place.

The old-fashioned “rule” of less vs. less

Traditionally, we are taught to use the word “less” when talking about what we count, and the word “less” when we talk about what we measure (and cannot measure).

Under this rule, we say:

“Today there are fewer guards than yesterday and I’m not enthusiastic.”

We count the guards, but we measure enthusiasm.

Does it make sense? good. However, it does not apply to many common uses of “less” and “less”.

Many exceptions to the “less” vs. “less” guidelines

When talking about money, distance, weight, time and stats, we generally don’t use “less”. In such cases, “less” is usually used.

For example, here’s how to talk about being breached:

“I have to rob the bank! Savings are less than $ 1,000!”

Not always error “Savings are less than $ 1000,” he says, but it makes a different sense because he often thinks and talks about money as an abstraction as a whole, rather than referring to individual currency units.

If you I want You can use “less” to specifically talk about the unit of money, not the money itself.

“After the explosion, I picked up 10 $ 100 bills from the floor of the vault. George caught less than six.”

The same basic idea applies to time. for example:

“The policeman will arrive here within 5 minutes!”

If you want to focus on the unit of time rather than the general idea of ‚Äč‚Äčtime, you can use “less”.

“Look at the clock! It takes less than 5 minutes for the police to arrive!”

The same rules apply to distances.

“The police station is within 8 km of the bank!”

And weight:

“The last time I went to the joint, I weighed less than 200 pounds.”

Also, when talking about statistics, use “less” instead of “less.” We say:

“Currently, less than 10,000 inmates are being held in federal prisons for bank robbery.”

Really, it’s completely anarchy.

General usage exceptions

For no reason, phrases that violate the “less” and “less” guidelines are always used. For example, “essay of 800 words or less”. Or, “One less thing to worry about.”

This is where the supermarket “10 items or less” sign comes in.The sign may bite your inner grammarian, but get over it: it’s correct because it’s a commonly used method and never really error in the first place.

“Less” has been used by writers who should have said “less” for over 1000 years since English was actually written. But less than 250 years have passed since it (wrongly) declared the rule (see what I did there).

The culprit seems to be the early linguist Robert Baker. In the 1770s Consideration about English, Baker writes:[Less] Most commonly used when talking about numbers. I think it’s better to have less. “Less than a hundred” looks to me, but it’s not only more elegant than “more than a hundred”, but more strictly appropriate. “

Note that Baker does not say this is a rule.He says “I should think” and “appears to me” and talks about the elegance of the choice of words, but Baker only states his tastes-and he was By convention, Robert Baker is not the king of English. Baker’s influence in the pointed minds of the 1700s (and our own desire to look smarter than those who write signs in supermarkets) is, in principle, an English teacher’s recast of Baker’s tastes. Brought generations.

After all, it’s up to you when to use “less” or “less”. “Less” generally means a lot, and “less” means a lot.Some people may look down on you by doing it differently, but you Not wrong.. There is no mistake in the sign that says “10 points or less”, and you can tell that to your English teacher.

You are wrong about “less” vs. “less”

Source link You are wrong about “less” vs. “less”

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