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don’t mass your count nouns - larvatus prodeo
April 6th, 2010
09:38 am

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don’t mass your count nouns
“Less than half of all American adults ever read a book after leaving school”, writes Julia Hanna on behalf of Harvard Business School. And had she belonged to the right half, she would have known that it’s “Fewer than…”.

Crossposted to [info]larvatus, [info]harvard_u, [info]elitistasshat, and [info]grammar_whores.

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From:remi_jakovlevic
Date:April 6th, 2010 05:17 pm (UTC)

Ideology or grammar?...

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...As far as grammar (I mean: predictability) is concerned, and granted that you regard Google raw results as not totally inconsistent:

191 000 for "Fewer than half of all American..."
772 000 for "Less than half of all American..."

Could the right half be even less than a small quarter?
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From:larvatus
Date:April 6th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)

Re: Ideology or grammar?...

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Even less than a small quarter is the right half for the discriminating prescriptivist.
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From:remi_jakovlevic
Date:April 6th, 2010 10:06 pm (UTC)

poll pots

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So it was sheer ideology. OK, on this ground, I'm ready to consider that the right half can consist of you alone. No kidding!
And this rules out any reference to polls, where - be it said 'en passant' - massing of count nouns doesn't sound illogical at all.
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From:remi_jakovlevic
Date:April 7th, 2010 06:43 am (UTC)

вдогонку

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From:larvatus
Date:April 8th, 2010 01:55 am (UTC)

Re: вдогонку

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Double decimation?
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