"doubt belief"

2009/04/25

How You Can Annoy Me

I am an advocate of American English usage evolving; although I have been complicit in its evolution, I confess, I am also an advocate of clarity, in not confusing folk with the blur of legit semantic distinctions.

I listen to news folk blur the distinction between "less" and "fewer" every day. Just today I heard a newsman say, "less people ...." He meant "fewer people...." Fewer is for individual items and less for quantity: fewer hailstones fell; less hail fell.

Many folk do not apparently believe that distinction is important, but I am not smart enough to know what they really mean.

No comments: