I’m recycling topics, you guys. If there’s an issue you want me to address, fire off an email, please. Otherwise, you’re going to keep getting retreads:
Less vs. fewer
This is really a question about whether one understands the difference between a count and a non-count noun; which one we have will determine the adjective we use.
A count noun is… duh… something you can count. Remember that it’s not something you WOULD count, necessarily – snowflakes and stars are both count nouns – but they’re things you COULD count. When you’ve got a countable noun, you would use fewer:
There were fewer fans at the football stadium once the team started their spectacular losing streak.
The new brand of oil means your car requires fewer oil changes in an average year.
A non-count noun is… duh… something you can’t count, even if you wanted to. They’re words like money (but not dollars), rain, (but not raindrops), and furniture (but not chairs or couches; see the difference?):
The area had significantly less rain this summer than last, which means fewer trees will reach their full autumn color.
Joni makes less money than Jack, even though she does twice the work and makes fewer mistakes.
All those signs in grocery stores that direct you to the “ten items or less” registers are wrong because items is a count noun (as are groceries, and pretty much anything that you can put on a conveyor belt). Tell them so for me.