Difference Between Fewer and Less (With Table)

Fewer and less are comparative adjectives and as their attributes suggest they are used when two entities or things are compared with each other. Both these terms signify quantitative aspects which is why the differences between them while using in a sentence are sometimes not drawn by the people using it.

Fewer vs Less

The difference between fewer and less is that the term less describes the things which are uncountable whereas the term fewer signifies the things that can be countable. For instance, A finishes fewer water bottles than B and he drinks less water than needed. Here, water bottles can be easily counted which is why the term fewer is used and water is uncountable therefore the term less is used.

The term fewer is additionally a similar descriptive word, which signifies ‘not as many. It very well may be utilized as a determiner, pronoun and descriptor, to demonstrate a few something. Fewer underscores number, for example, the number of individuals or things are there. It centres around discretely quantifiable things or to alludes to things in the plural.

The term less is taken from Germany and it signifies “not so much”. It is a near descriptor and is utilized when a correlation is drawn between or among things or elements that can’t be evaluated without any problem. The term less is utilized with the particular terms portion terms that don’t have a plural structure for them.

Comparison Table Between Fewer and Less

Parameters of ComparisonFewerLess
Meaning The term means not so many.The term means not so much.
TypeIt is used as a similar type to many.It is used as a relative type to nearly nothing.
UseIt is used for the terms the plural of which is possible.It is used for the terms or entities the plural of which is not possible.
ExceptionIt got no exceptions attached to it.For the measurement of money, time, distance and weight, the term less is used as the aforementioned mentioned quantities are deemed to be considered as singular.
ExampleThere are fewer stars in the painting than mentioned in the description.The time taken to complete the painting is less than was estimated.

What is Fewer?

The term fewer got originated in Germany and it means ‘not so many’ signifying its use to the similar type of not ‘many’. It is used where things or entities can be countable, that is, they can be quantified easily. And according to the singular plural rule, the term fewer can be used with the plural words or things.

For instance, when we talk about cookies and candy, there is a scope of having cookies and candies and as plural can come out of the singular here, the term fewer becomes right to be used – there are fewer cookies in the jar or there are fewer candies in the packet as we distributed some.

Also, choosing a person can have either have too many choices or some choices or even sometimes no choice at all depending on the circumstances exposed to, here the use of fewer is right – Cindy had fewer choices for her career back in 1990 and surprisingly the same stream now provides much more choices for the career than then available.

For the measurement of time, money, distance and weight, the term fewer is not used as the aforementioned mentioned measurements are singular and not plural.

What is Less?

Owing to its origin in Germany, the word less means ‘not so much’ signifying the relative type of the word nearly ‘nothing’. It is a comparative adjective and is used when a comparison is drawn between or among things or entities that cannot be quantified easily. The term less is used with the singular terms dose terms that do not have a plural form for them. This is known as the singular plural rule of demarcation.

However, there is an exception to the singular plural rule. The term list can be used for the measurements of money, distance, weight and time as though they can be countable in terms of how many dollars, how many metres, how many kilograms and how many hours respectively yet they are considered to be singular. Thus, the term less qualifies to be used with the aforementioned measurements.

For instance, less can be used with water as water is uncountable and has no plural attached – there is less water remaining in the pond than it was a few days earlier. With money also no plural is attached, so, less becomes appropriate – I have less money in my wallet today than I had yesterday.

Main Differences Between Less and Fewer

  1. The term ‘fewer’ is likewise gotten from the German language and signifies ‘not as many whereas the term ‘less’ has its origin in Germany and it signifies ‘not so much.
  2. Fewer can be utilized as a similar type of not many whereas we are useless as a relative type of the word nearly nothing.
  3. With regards to use, the usage of the word fewer is associated with countable things or things that have a plural whereas the term less is fundamentally used with uncountable things or the things which are quantifiable or that doesn’t have a plural.
  4. The term fewer has no such exception associated with it whereas there is an exception attached to less that it can be used with time, money, distance and weight even though these measurements are considered as singular.
  5. For example, he has fewer bills compared to the people his age whereas he is awarded less money compared to the other employees. Here, bills can be counted, so, fewer are used and money cannot be counted, therefore, less is used.


The words fewer and less both mean the same thing somewhere; they are both something contrary to “additional.” But understudies of English, and surprisingly local speakers, frequently experience difficulty realizing which word to use in various circumstances. In some cases, you can pass by ear and pick since one will sound better compared to the next, yet there’s a straightforward principle to ensure you generally realize when to utilize less or fewer.

Fewer and less are the two descriptive words that adjust things, yet they have various employments. The fundamental principle to recollect in fewer versus less is: Fewer is characterized as not so much and is utilized while portraying plural or countable things whereas Less means a more modest sum or “not so much” and is utilized while portraying particular or uncountable things.

For instance, there are fewer ice cream bowls than the number of consumers available and there is less ice cream in the bowl than asked for.


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=TLiuDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=less+vs+fewer&ots=C_i15IBF5z&sig=vSJ6nWKkLyq_dK7j0gn04vbBSas
  2. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/1148170.1148245
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