Lesson: Word Choice - "less" vs. "fewer" and more

Rate this video: 

Comment on Word Choice - "less" vs. "fewer" and more

cost and distance are the uncountable nouns being referred to.
gmat-admin's picture

That's correct.

Hi Brent,

Can you share rules for us of more and greater.
gmat-admin's picture

Use GREATER when the noun in question is an actual number/statistic. Otherwise, use MORE.

For example, if I'm referring to "The price of coffee," the price is an actual NUMBER. So, I might say "The price of coffee is greater here than in Italy."

Here's another way to put it: If there's an increase in a single statistic, use GREATER. If you're counting things and NOT referring to 'the number' or 'the population' or any other single statistic, use MORE.

The population of ducks is GREATER than it was 10 years ago. (here "population" is referring to an actual number)

There are more ducks than there were 10 years ago (here "ducks" is not referring to an actual number).

Some words that are themselves numbers include the following: cost, distance, area, number, price, percent, density, population, volume.

Two more examples (from the Official Guide):

Minnesota will fail if the DENSITY of the timber wolf population in that region is GREATER than one wolf for every 39 square miles.

The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with extinction; its NUMBERS are now five times GREATER than when the use of DDT was sharply restricted in the early 1970's.

Does that help?

gmat-admin's picture

Oops - duplicate post

Yes, thanks a lot

1 respect, 2 respect, 3 respect. I love that :)

Hi Brent, quick one:
can we generalize the rule for uncountable and countable as following:
if a countable subject could be broken into smaller units then we treat as uncountable.
meaning 20 miles could be broken down in feet therefore we treat as uncountable, similarly minutes, dollars, etc.

could you think of an exception to the rule?
gmat-admin's picture

I love that you're looking for a rule that always applies! Although, in English, there are very few such rules :-)

I'm not fully sure I understand your example.

Miles are countable (1 mile, 2 miles, etc), and we can break miles down into feet and inches, which are also countable (1 inch, 2 inches, etc.)

Thank you for your promote reply.

I meant. any countable subject that could be broken into smaller countable items should be treated as uncountable item. for example. although 20 miles are countable (1 mile, 2 miles...etc) but because it could be counted in feet too, then we treat as uncountable and use LESS rather than few/fewer.

the same applies for other subjects that could be broken/counted/measured with other units (i.e. time, cost, distance, height, weight...etc).

in other words, can we ever say fewer than 8 miles, or when it comes to the previously mentioned subjects (time, distance,..etc) we always use "LESS"
gmat-admin's picture

Ahhh, I see!
I'm still hesitant to say that your rule ALWAYS works. That said, I can't think of a counter-example!

Hi Brent,

I selected ans choice D because I felt facing is || with the rising, please let me know why its wrong. With rather than do we need to take care of any specific ||esim.

gmat-admin's picture


In this sentence, FACE is a verb and RISING in an adjective, so the structure isn't parallel.

Add a comment

Ask on Beat The GMAT

If you have any questions, ask them on the Beat The GMAT discussion forums. The average response time is typically less than 30 minutes.

Change Playback Speed

You have the option of watching our videos at various speeds (25% faster, 50% faster, etc). To change the playback speed, click the settings icon on the right side of the video status bar.

Have a question about this video?

Post your question in the Comment section below, and we’ll answer it as fast as humanly possible.

Free “Question of the Day” emails!