less [les] Show IPA
|Part of Speech:||adverb|
|Synonyms:||barely, in a lower degree, meagerly, to a smaller extent|
|Notes:||fewer means a smaller number of individual things and less means a small quantity of something. A traditional rule of English usage holds that less should be used only of uncountable things, that is, things that can be measured but not counted as discrete units. Thus "less electricity," "less than a quart, " "less doubt." Fewer, on the other hand, should be used only of things that can be counted: "fewer people," "fewer cars." In actual usage, fewer almost always adheres to the traditional rule; the problem is that less is often used with countable things.
generally, less applies to quantity while fewer applies to number; the traditional rule says that you should use fewer for things that can be counted (fewer than four players) but less with mass terms for things of measurable extent (less paper, less than a gallon of paint)