Grammar - Fewer and Less

The comparatives "fewer" or "less" are somehow confusing because they both correspond to the Spanish "menos". There difference between them is based on whether or not the noun that follows is countable or uncountable:

Less is used when the thing discussed is uncountable – in other words, when you can’t separate one from the whole group.

  • There was less milk in the fridge this morning. (You can’t count one milk, two milks…)
  • There is less oxygen on Everest than at sea level. (You can’t count one oxygen, two oxygens…)


Fewer is used when the things discussed are countable – that is, it’s possible to separate one from the whole group.

  • The local library has fewer books than the one in the city. (One book, two books…)
  • There are fewer apples on my tree this year. (One apple, two apples…)

The easiest way to figure out if you should use less or fewer is to ask yourself if the word has a commonly used plural form.

  • If it does (e.g. cats, computers, people), use fewer.
  • If it doesn’t (e.g. water, happiness, airtime), use less!
Icono de iDevice Gap Filling
Read the paragraph below and fill in the missing words.

1) Spanish children eat fat.


2) There were people in the room.


3) She spends minutes doing her homework.


4) She spends time doing her homework.


5) My sister has friends than me.


6) I am trying to eat junk food.


7) Listening to his advice is important than following it.