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seapea #186251 08/01/09 02:23 PM
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Carpal Tunnel
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Carpal Tunnel
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when 'fewer' and 'less' and 'under' are synonymized?

What the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage has to say about less, fewer (link). This rule was invented in 1770 by Robert Baker in his Reflections on the English Language (link).
Quote:
XLVII. LESS.

THIS Word is most commonly used in speaking of a Number; where I should think Fewer would do better. No fewer than a Hundred appears to me not only more elegant than No less than a Hundred, but more strictly proper.
As the MWDEU entry goes on to show, the earliest examples of less being used with countables goes back, at least, to King Alfred in his Latin to Old English translation in 888 CE. Baker was another of those cranky 18th century linguists who hoisted their opinions on usage in rules of correctness.

Another interesting thing about less is that it is the suppletive comparative form of little. The form lesser is a double comparative akin to betterer.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
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Carpal Tunnel
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Carpal Tunnel
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And, somehow, against all logic, more works both for counting (versus fewer) and measuring (versus less). How can this be?

Joined: Jun 2009
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stranger
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stranger
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 13
Originally Posted By: Faldage
And, somehow, against all logic, more works both for counting (versus fewer) and measuring (versus less). How can this be?


...which leads us right to much and many.
I couldn't take many more pills than I already take. I had many fewer headaches when I had much less stress. How much more of this can we stand?

I don't understand why these words bug me too much when they're not used the way I prefer them to be.

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