14 November 2011

Fourteen: Quantity

Do you see these two signs? Notice the difference? Which one do you think is right, or do you think both might be right?

This is, of course, a question to bring me to yet another rant about the state of the English language in its common usage. There is a terrible tendency to mix things up and use the inappropriate expression of quantity, so I thought I would share the lesson I learned from my Mum.

Can you count, or can you only measure the thing you are talking about?

Take some of this away and you get LESS sugar.

Take some of these away and you get FEWER apples.

So if your local supermarket express line says "10 items or less" you can approach the store manager with confidence to complain that the sign is destroying the English language.

You're welcome.

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