Fewer vs. Less Than

Do you know when to use “less than” vs. “fewer than?”  For example, should you say, “there are less than 5 marbles in this jar” or “fewer than 5 marbles in this jar?”  The correct answer is “fewer than.”

Generally, you should use “fewer” for items that you can count on your hands and toes.  “Less” should be used for more abstract ideas.  For example, “there are fewer cookies in this jar than before; there is less milk in the glass.”

The Chicago Manual of Style elaborates o this topic:


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