Less vs Fewer

I used to be oblivious to this, but now I know, misuse increasingly sticks out like a sore thumb:

  • “Less” is for an amount of bulk stuff you’re not counting in discrete units – less water, less food, less stock
  • “Fewer” is for discrete, countable things – fewer drinks, fewer meals, fewer items at a checkout

So if the sign at your checkout says “10 items or less”, it’s just wrong.  Silly sign.