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Understanding The Fewer Vs Less Controversy 

by samik ghoshal

Fewer vs Less controversy is not just your run-of-the-mill versus list. It is one of the most fundamental and essential discussions that writers should carefully follow. This article is all about navigating the nuances of the English language and everything it has to offer. Keep scrolling to know more.   

Meaning Of Lesser 

Understanding any versus article is all about going down to the root of the discussion. The first two sections will do that. First, I would like to talk a little about the word ‘lesser.’  

Less is primarily a quantifier. This means it is used to study the volume of an uncountable entity. Less generally stands for ‘not as much.’ Therefore, the word functions like a pronoun as well as a determiner.  

The best part about the word is that the word can be used in a myriad of ways. For example, it can be used as a determiner and pronoun. Subsequently, it can also be used as an adjective.  

When used as a pronoun and determiner, it helps in discussing the quantity. Subsequently, if it is used as an adjective, it refers to the importance of a substance.  

Meaning Of Fewer 

The second piece of the puzzle is the word ‘fewer.’ This shares several similarities with its counterpart, ‘less.’ However, they share some fundamental differences with each other. Hence, going piece by piece will help you. 


Like its former, ‘fewer’ is a quantifier. It is used to study or talk about the total numerical strength of a countable entity. The term is generally used to refer to the overall volume of a substance. As a result, this word also functions as a determiner and a pronoun.  

Fewer is a versatile word. It has a myriad of uses that span across several contexts. However, it is mostly used in order to determine the numerical strength of a tangible entity. 

Fewer is mostly used for countable entities that can be studied using the singular and plural format. As a result, understanding this word is easier than understanding ‘Lesser.’  

Difference Between Fewer vs Less 


One of the biggest and most important parts of the Fewer vs Less discussion is understanding the subtle differences side by side. As a result, I have created a small table where we can study some of the key differences between ‘fewer’ and ‘less so that you do not get confused. Let us dive right in without further ado: 

The Difference Fewer Lesser 
Noun Fewer is generally used for countable entities. Less is generally used for uncountable entities. 
Quantity It is usually used for items with finite quantities. It is generally used for items with lesser amounts or degrees. 
Plurality It is primarily used for plural nouns. The word is generally used for singular as well as plural nouns.  
Form Of Noun The word is primarily used to denote individual countable entities. The word is used to talk about uncountable nouns or intangible entities.  
Format ‘Fewer’ is a comparative variation of the noun ‘Few.’ ‘Lesser’ is a comparative variation of the noun ‘Little.’ 
Superlatives The word can be used with the superlative, ‘The.’  The word cannot be used with the superlative, ‘The.’ 
Discretion & Continous The word is used when the quantity is discrete in nature The word is used when the quantity is continuous in nature.  
Examples “Fewer mangoes”, “fewer animals”, “Fewer pair of shoes”, etc.  “Less oil”, “less carbohydrate”, “less rice”, etc.  

This table should work like a cheat code for your queries. As a result, you should save this for future reference.  

How To Use Fewer? 

One of the biggest aspects of the fewer vs. lesser debate is that both words share some stark similarities. As a result, both words are often confused with each other. Hence, it is important to understand the usage of the word. 

Fewer is generally used to quantify tangible assets or entities. These include people, places, cars, pairs of shoes, etc. Fewer is generally used in order to quantify countable things. Therefore, this is one of the most important and deciding factors of the whole discussion.  

Look at the examples in the next section to understand how Fewer can be used in general sentences.  


  • Fewer people knew about the celebration.  
  • I see fewer diesel cars on the road compared to before. 
  • I own fewer textured shirts than John. 
  • He has fewer things to worry about than me. 
  • I aim to have fewer friends than before. 
  • Forests have fewer species of birds than before.  
  • Studies show that fewer people are using Facebook than before.  
  • Go minimalistic. Use fewer skin products on your skin for best results.  
  • A mastodon had fewer ridged teeth than modern-day elephants. 
  • A centipede has fewer legs than a millipede. 
  • Fewer and fewer people are opting to pursue careers in arts and culture.  
  • Fewer than 160 Russian troops managed to escape the siege. 
  • Rural Europe has fewer traffic jams than most other places. 
  • Fewer families stay in the village after the storm.  
  • The temple seems to have fewer monkeys than before.  

How To Use Less? 

Less and fewer are very closely related. As a result, they are heavily confused. In fact, only a handful of people use these words effectively. This is primarily because they are not clear about the usage. 


Similar to fewer, less is a quantifier and a pronoun. It is often used to study the volume and amount of intangible things. Things that cannot be measured individually. This is a fundamental difference between the two quantifiers.  

Let us look at some of the key differences between the words by studying some examples.  


  • I had very less water since the morning. 
  • My opinions always feel less important than hers. 
  • Now I have one less fool to worry about. 
  • The exam is less than a month from now. 
  • Gargoyles were apparently less than 3 feet in height. 
  • I feel less restless than before. 
  • The weather seems less dicey than before.  
  • The overall price was less than our initial budget. 
  • My wife was less critical than me.  
  • Her tone was less sincere than before.  
  • I never gave you any less importance than my mother. 
  • We certainly have less sex than before. 
  • A smile will make you seem less brooding. 
  • It is not easy to tread the road less traveled.  
  • My capabilities are not less than any of you guys.  

The Fewer vs. Less Rule 

The primary aspect of the fewer vs. less discussion is the difference in usage. Both words are similar, yet they tend to be different in some nuanced ways. Therefore, it is important to understand the general rule of thumb that governs this whole discussion. 

You must use the word ‘fewer’ when numbers are involved. Subsequently, you must use the word less when the volume is involved. Hence, you must always remember this rule while writing. Otherwise, you would end up making blunders. 

However, when the countable entities go beyond a certain value, you could use either. Therefore, you need to understand the nuances in order to know the proper usage.  

The Final Thought 

With that, you have reached the very end of my article about the famed fewer vs less debate. A debate that has taken over the writing community by storm. Keep following our page for more such content.


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