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

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

### cost and distance are the

cost and distance are the uncountable nouns being referred to.

That's correct.

### Hi Brent,

Hi Brent,

Can you share rules for us of more and greater.

### Use GREATER when the noun in

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.

EXAMPLE:
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?

### so for likelyhood should we

So for likelihood should we use GREATER or MORE?

### The noun LIKELIHOOD is an

The noun LIKELIHOOD is an actual number/statistic (we can measure it in a scale from 0 to 1), so use GREATER.

### The noun LIKELIHOOD is an

The noun LIKELIHOOD is an actual number/statistic (we can measure it in a scale from 0 to 1), so use GREATER.

### Use GREATER when the noun in

Oops - duplicate post

### Yes, thanks a lot

Yes, thanks a lot

### 1 respect, 2 respect, 3

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

### Hi Brent, quick one:

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?

### I love that you're looking

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

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"

### Ahhh, I see!

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,

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.

https://gmatclub.com/forum/a-recent-study-has-found-that-within-the-past-few-years-73334-20.html

### https://gmatclub.com/forum/a

https://gmatclub.com/forum/a-recent-study-has-found-that-within-the-past...

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

### I'm a bit confused when

I'm a bit confused when looking at the sentence "The express line is for customers purchasing 6 items or less/fewer". Would the right answer not be "less" since "6 items" can be considered a single entity? Thanks.

### I wouldn't say that we can

I wouldn't say that we can treat the 6 items as one entity. Otherwise, we say this about any collection of items.

The sentence might sound less awkward if we include some information that's implied in the sentence.

We can write: The express line is for customers purchasing 6 items or fewer THAN 6 ITEMS

Does that help?

Cheers,
Brent

### Hi Brent,

Hi Brent,

If possible, please do share an official SC questions were the exception rule for 'less' is tested. I am finding it difficult to fully understand the concept.

Warm Regards,
Pritish

### Hi Brent,

Hi Brent,

1. Following your links, I found an interesting example with the word calories. Could you tell me please whether the same rule applies to the word "calory" as to the notions of (money, distance, time)

This cookie has 30 calories less than a loaf of bread.

2. What about such things as ratios. I mean one-third of, half, two-third

He weighs two-third less than I.
He weighs half of me. ( I don't know how to construct this sentence correctly)
He weighs one third less than I.

3. Lastly, one of the discussinons I found such sentence:

"In the "dead-ball" era of 1900-1919, Major League Baseball hitters in both leagues hit an average total of 370 home runs each season, more than 60% percent less than those in the 1920s."

I am curious, to which word a demonstrative pronoun "those" phrase refers.
Could you give provide a full version of this sentence, by filling up "those" with the actual noun it relates to?
As I did in the following example,

My dog is as big as that of my friend.(with a demonstrative pronoun)
My dog is as big as the dog of my friend.(without a demonstrative pronoun)

### 1. Tough one.

1. Tough one.
CALORIES is countable, but we could also place "calories" in the bigger category of ENERGY (which is not countable).
Similarly, GRAMS is a unit of measurement in the bigger category of WEIGHT (which is not countable).
For weight (and distance and money and time), we use LESS/MORE, because we're basically saying "This thing has LESS weight than this other thing").

However, what are we saying with calories? Are we saying "This thing has LESS energy than this other thing"?).
Maybe some people feel this way, but I think most people are simply talking about the specific number of calories.
For this reason, I'd write: "This cookie has 30 calories FEWER than a loaf of bread has."

NOTE: I imagine one could easily argue both sides of this issue. As such, the GMAT would never create a question that hinged solely on this one issue.

2. Treat fractions and ratios as uncountable. I would write:
He weighs two-third LESS than I.
His weight is half that of mine (or "My weight is twice his weight")
He weighs one-third LESS than I.

3. "In the "dead-ball" era of 1900-1919, Major League Baseball hitters in both leagues hit an average total of 370 home runs each season, more than 60% percent less than those in the 1920s."

Also tough!
Here, we're comparing the AVERAGE TOTAL from 1900 to 1919 with comparing the AVERAGE TOTAL from 1900 to 1919.
Since TOTAL is uncountable, use LESS THAN.

I'm not sure what THOSE is referring to. The root of the sentence goes something like this: In one era, players hit some average total, more than 60% percent less than the average total in a different era."

Aside: When it comes to Verbal questions, it's best to practice with official questions.

Cheers,
Brent

### Hi Brent,

Hi Brent,

Thank you very much for your elaborate response,

I highly appreciate this

### Hi Brent,

Hi Brent,

Thank you very much for your elaborate response,

an overwhelming proportion of women is/are
an overwhelming proportion of my body is/are

a huge quantity of sugar is/are
a huge quantity of apples is/are

Huge quantities of sugar is/are
Huge quantities of apples is/are

a fraction of people is/are
a fraction of apple is/are

Maybe you have other quantifiers that are worth to know about?

Thank you in advance

### Good questions. Here are my

Good questions. Here are my responses:

an overwhelming proportion of women ARE
an overwhelming proportion of my body IS

a huge quantity of sugar IS
a huge quantity of apples IS

Huge quantities of sugar ARE
Huge quantities of apples ARE

a fraction of the people ARE
a fraction of the apple IS

Cheers,
Brent

### Hi Brent,

Hi Brent,

Thank you,

Because I asked you about specific examples I am not sure whether I can see a big picture.

Is there any rule about number/quantity/amount?

I know for sure that:
a number + countable plural + were/are/have
the number + countable singular + was/is/has

a huge quantity X+Y
huge quantities X+Y
a huge amount X+Y
huge amounts X+Y

WHERE X→(countable singular/countable plural/uncountable)(what options are possible?)
WHERE Y→(was/is/has or were/are/have)

I know that this question is not easy, therefore, thank you in advance.

### Here we go:

Here we go:

Huge quantity of UNCOUNTABLE IS
Huge quantities of COUNTABLE ARE
Huge amount of UNCOUNTABLE IS
Huge amounts of COUNTABLE (better to use NUMBERS with countable)

Cheers,
Brent

### Hey Brent,

Hey Brent,

what abou people? There are fewer/less people in this room than in the other one?

### Since people are countable (1

Since people are countable (1 person, 2 people, 3 people, etc), we use FEWER

### Would you please explain

Would you please explain "EFFECT/AFFECT"
Didn't catch it yet when to use effect or affect.

### AFFECT is usually a verb, and

AFFECT is usually a verb, and it means to impact or change.
The bridge repairs are AFFECTING downtown traffic.
The music deeply AFFECTED Joe.

EFFECT is usually a noun, an effect is the result of a change. Watch out! There are certain situations and fixed phrases that break the general usage rules for these words.
Her sunburn was an EFFECT of sun exposure.

Does that help?

### https://gmatclub.com/forum/dr

https://gmatclub.com/forum/dr-tonegawa-won-the-nobel-prize-for-discovering-how-the-body-can-73457.html

Hello,

How do we differentiate between 'each' and 'all'? In this question, I went with answer choice D as I was not aware of the idiom.

### Question link: https:/

There's no issue with EACH vs ALL here. Both will work:
- ...unlimited number of antibodies, EACH targeted specifically at
- ...unlimited number of antibodies, ALL targeted specifically at

The primary issues here are:
- We need the adverb SEEMINGLY to modify the adjective UNLIMITED
- The idiom is TARGETED AT (not TARGETED TO)

Cheers, Brent

### So finding the right answer

So finding the right answer does come down to idioms :(

Yes, partially.

### Hi Brent,

Hi Brent,

Regarding your example, 'Cleo decided to run rather than walk' shouldn't it be 'Cleo decided to run rather than to walk' in order for the sentence to be parallel?

### Great question!

You're absolutely right. I didn't even see the "A rather than B" construction.
It should be "Cleo decided TO run rather than TO walk"

### Hi Brent,

Hi Brent,

You mentioned that it doesn't apply to correlative conjunctions.

Isn't this is a x rather than y conjunction?

### You're absolutely right. I

You're absolutely right. I didn't even see the "A rather than B" construction.
I've edited my response above.
Thanks for the heads up!

### Here is what I think about

Here is what I think about Countable and Uncountable Nouns

(1) Countable - If a noun has a plural form and/or if it can be represented by an Integral value then that noun is countable

Apple --> Apples (plural form available)
1 apple (Yes) 1.5 apples (No) (Can only be represented in integral form)

Uncountable - If a noun does not have a plural form and/or it can be presented as a non integral value then that noun is Uncountable

Air --> Airs (No) (No plural form)
1 Ton 1.5 ton --> (Can be represented as a non integral value)

KEPPING THE ABOVE IN MIND

Dollars is --> Because despite of the plural form "dollars" it can be represented as a non integral value (\$1.5)

Money is uncountable --> Because it doesn't have a plural form

BUT how is "Miles" Countable?
- Yes it has a plural form BUT like "Dollars" it can be represented as (1.5 miles)

Please could you help me understand how to spot a countable/uncountable noun. I'd like to understand the concept rather than learning a list of words

### When a collection functioning

When a collection functioning as a SINGLE ENTITY, treat the collection has an uncountable noun.

Consider this sentence:
Joe drove FEWER THAN/LESS THAN 5.3 miles before his car ran out of gas.
Since we're treating 5.3 miles as specific distance (i.e., a single entity), we use LESS THAN.