Fewer vs Less with 17 Examples

fewer vs less - MyEnglishTeacher.eu BlogFewer is the comparative of few (used with countable, plural nouns).
Less is the comparative of little (mostly used before uncountable, singular nouns).

– A secretary makes less money than a manager.

– Last year we went to the seaside at every weekend, but now we have less time.

– There were fewer eggs in the fridge than we had hoped.

– I have fewer books than my grandfather.


Less may also be used before plural nouns in an informal style, although this is not typical:

– These days I’ve got less/fewer problems than I used to have.


Less and fewer are used with the preposition of before determiners (the, my, this, etc.) and pronouns.

– I wish my wife spent less of her money on expensive clothes.

– There are fewer of us at the college reunions each year.

Fewer of the applicants were wearing a tie to the interview than we expected.

– Did you drink half the wine? – No, I drank less of it.


Of is not used before nouns without determiners.

– If you want to lose weight, you should eat less chocolate and bread.

Fewer people eat only traditional food these days.

– Peter has fewer friends than his brother.

– I don’t think less time than a week would be enough for this job.


Less and fewer can stand on their own, that is without a noun, if the meaning is clear or as indefinite pronouns.

– People go to church nowadays, too, but fewer/less than 50 years ago.

– If you work less, you will earn less.

– Have you brought a basket of apples? – No, we brought fewer/less.

– Unfortunately, I often sleep less than enough.

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Written by: Anastasia Koltai

Founder of MyEnglishTeacher.eu. Ana is a fan of giving away free and useful materials both for English learners and teachers. In her free time she loves biking and playing with her dog.

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