Thursday, September 18, 2008

Less vs Fewer

Less tourists head to Thailand’ (Straits Times website, 0705 hours on 19 September 2008).
Make it fewer tourists, since tourist is a countable noun. Use less only with uncountable nouns, e.g. less salt.

[Update: headline was amended at 0918.]


Vinodh said...

Same problem, one day earlier in a sister publication.

18 September 2008, page 9 of the BT: “Less COEs”. Error in the headline and repeated in the opening sentence of the article.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you mean, like, they read your blog and revised their headline within 2 hours of your posting?

The Grammar Terrorist said...

Hi, Vinodh

Wow, you're really eagle-eyed! Thanks for pointing this out. It's a mistake British native speakers make too (see the post about Tesco some weeks ago). But in a national broadsheet (BT/ST), you'd expect editors to be more vigilant, wouldn't you?

Hi, Anonymous

No, I don't think they changed the headline as a result of my post. However, I do know for a fact that, once they put out articles, they continue to review and edit them. Sometimes, headlines tell the brutal truth because the articles have been rushed -- later, they're toned down. (Mr Brown's blog has some of these from time to time: .)

Khai said...

Hey L.

Love your blog. Never fails to entertain and amaze me. :D

I wonder if there's a grammar terrorist in China.

Or maybe you should set up a branch there.

That would definitely cause havoc.


P.S. If you have some free time, do check out my website. I write songs as a hobby. So, if you don't mind checking them out, I'd appreciate any comments. :)

The Grammar Terrorist said...

Hello, Khai. Thanks for your very kind remarks. Yes, I'd love to check out your website -- could you send me the link, please? Thanks.