英语语法 学英语,练听力,上听力课堂! 注册 登录
> 英语语法 > Grammar Girl 语法女孩(2007年) >  列表

Grammar Girl 语法女孩(2007年) Less Versus Fewer(May 11, 2007)

所属教程:Grammar Girl 语法女孩(2007年)

浏览:

guoyuanyuan

随身学
扫描二维码方便学习和分享
http://online2.tingclass.net/lesson/shi0529/0008/8151/grammar054_fewer.mp3
http://image.tingclass.net/statics/js/2012

Episode 54: May 11, 2007

Grammar Girl here.

Today's topic is less versus fewer.

Less and fewer are easy to mix up. They mean the same thing—the opposite of more—but you use them in different circumstances (1). The basic rule is that you use less with mass nouns and fewer with count nouns.

Count Nouns Versus Mass Nouns

Now I'm worried that I've scared you off, but it's easy to remember the difference between mass nouns and count nouns.

A count noun is just something you can count. I'm looking at my desk and I see books, pens, and M&M's. I can count all those things, so they are count nouns and the right word to use is fewer. I should eat fewer M&M's.

Mass nouns are just things that you can't count individually. Again, on my desk I see tape and clutter. These things can't be counted individually, so the right word to use is less. If I had less clutter, my desk would be cleaner. Another clue is that you don't make mass nouns plural: I would never say I have clutters on my desk or that I need more tapes to hold my book covers together.

Sometimes it isn't obvious if something is a mass noun or a count noun because some words can be used in different ways. For example, coffee can refer to either a mass of liquid or a cup of liquid. If you're responsible for filling the coffee decanter at a wedding, and you're getting carried away, your boss might ask you to make less coffee. But if you're a waiter serving cups of coffee to the tables, and the crowd is waning, your boss might tell you to bring out fewer coffees next time. She means cups of coffee, but it's common to hear that shortened to just coffee as in “Bring me a coffee, please.” Remember that I said mass nouns (like coffee) can't be made plural? In this example, I've made a mass noun plural, but in the process I transformed it into a count noun. So the rule still holds.

Furniture is another tricky word; it isn't immediately obvious whether it is a mass noun or a count noun. If I think of a furniture store, I think of lots of individual pieces of furniture, but furniture is a collective name for a mass of stuff. You could say, “Look at all those couches,” but you would never say, “Look at all those furnitures.” Furniture is a mass noun. Therefore, you'd say, “We need less furniture in this dance hall. Can we have fewer chairs?” 

Exceptions

There are exceptions to these rules; for example, it is customary to use the word less to describe time, money, and distance (2, 3). For example, you could say, “That wedding reception lasted less than two hours. I hope they paid the band less than $400.” So keep in mind that time, money, and distance are different, but if you stick with the quick and dirty tip that less is for mass nouns and fewer is for count nouns, you'll be right most of the time.

Memory Tricks

There are two ways that I remember when to use less and when to use fewer.

First, I think of the classic example of the grocery store express lane. Most of the signs for these lanes read, “10 items or less,” and that's just wrong. The signs should read, “10 items or fewer,” because items are individual, countable things. Between hearing people complain about the signs and seeing the signs every week or so, it sticks in my head that it should be fewer items. And when I stand in line and count the 15 items that belong to the person in front of me in the 10-items-or-fewer lane, I'm strongly reinforcing the idea that items are countable.

Second, I have a memory trick. I think of Aardvark sitting by a lake. He's fishing. The water is low in the lake this year, so there is less water in the lake. Less and lake both begin with the letter l. There is less water in the lake. Squiggly is worried about dinner. Aardvark usually catches four fish, but what if there are only three? “We'll have fewer fish for dinner,” Squiggly thinks to himself fretfully. Fewer and fish both start with the letter f, and Squiggly is counting fish in his head. We'll have fewer fish for dinner.

That's all.

内容来自 听力课堂网:http://www.tingclass.net/show-8151-229702-1.html
用手机学英语,请加听力课堂微信公众号:tingclass123
用户搜索

疯狂英语 英语语法 新概念英语 走遍美国 四级听力 英语音标 英语入门 发音 美语 四级 新东方 七年级 赖世雄 zero是什么意思

订阅每日学英语:

  • 频道推荐
  • |
  • 全站推荐
  • 广播听力
  • |
  • 推荐下载
  • 网站推荐
0.093750