NorthWest by NorthEast Blog

Cold rain starts the day

Cold rain starts the day
Giving way to bright sunshine
In the afternoon

The wacky weather continues... I have no idea what to wear one day to the next. It could feel like November at 10 am and then August at 3 pm!

 

Do you prefer steady weather or constant variety?

 

Fewer vs. less

Thank you for the great answers to this month's grammar gaffe! I love that you considered grammar and meaning. I absolutely agree that the list is confusing. And, based on what's visible, what happened to 2 nights a week? (Thank you, Beth and Kristie, for pointing that out!)

 

Here's the screenshot again as a refresher:

 

 

 

I feel I need to mention a caveat. The full Facebook survey actually shows more options; these are just the highlights. Still, as a list, it leaves a lot to be desired. In this case, it's possible that Facebook is relying on the fact that users are familiar with what the full surveys look like. For good user experience, it's always better to consider the person who is seeing the text for the first time... and not assume anything.

 

The reason I chose this as my grammar gaffe is the use of "less" in "Less than 2 nights a week." Why did I choose this among all the issues? Honestly? It's a pet peeve of mine. As far as I can tell, people use less and fewer incorrectly almost as often as correctly. I'm doing my small part to change that. (Thanks, Bryan, for pointing out this grammar issue on Facebook!)

 

What's the rule?

This one is actually pretty simple. If you are referring to items that you can count (cars, nights, pogo sticks), use fewer. If you are referring to items that you can't count (traffic, humidity), use less.

 

So, the correct text for the survey is "Fewer than 2 nights a week."

 

Here are some examples:

  • There are fewer cars on the road today.
  • There is less traffic today.
  • There is less humidity in the air this afternoon.
  • There are fewer pogo sticks for sale.

 

Quick note

The example sentences are all comparisons, but we often drop out some of the details. There are fewer cars on the road today than there were yesterday. Sometimes it's important to include the details, but usually it's OK to omit them.

 

Your turn: What bugs you most about this survey? Is it the confusing options? The parallelism? Something else?

 

Frigid air seeps in

Frigid air seeps in

Under the comforter and

Causes a shiver

 

The weather shift was dramatic. Yesterday, it was hot and sunny and actually felt like summer. Today? Cold, gray, rainy. I wonder if we'll ever get a full week of summer this summer. It's a good thing that the weather held for camping! I love rain a lot of the time - but never when I'm camping.

 

What's your favorite summer weather? 90s and sunny? 70s and sunny? Hazy, hot, and humid? Dramatic lightning storms?

 

New projects starting

New projects starting

Outside, the sun is shining

Wonderful Monday

 

I'm a bit unusual, because I actually like Mondays. To be completely honest, I love Mondays. True, I can't spend the day hiking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains. But, I can tackle exciting new challenges and start the week off strong. I like to do that. I always get a ton of work done on Monday, and the momentum from a strong start helps every day of my week to be more productive.

 

What's your favorite weekday? Why?

 

What's wrong with this Facebook survey?

I recently saw this Facebook survey in my newsfeed. Apparently one of my friends cooks dinner three or four nights a week for her family. Fabulous! So, why did I choose the survey for this month's grammar gaffe? Take a look...

 

 

Can you tell what caught my editorial eye about the survey?

 

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

 
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