Monday, September 01, 2008

Never have so many owed so much to so less

I go away for a week and when I return I find the silly season is still upon us. Tesco has finally given in to the the "fewer" Vs "less" pedants and decided to change the wording on its isles:

Tesco is to change the wording of signs on its fast-track checkouts to avoid any linguistic dispute.

The supermarket giant is to replace its current "10 items or less" notices with signs saying "Up to 10 items".

Tesco's move follows uncertainty over whether the current notices should use "fewer" instead of "less".

OK, I confess to being one of those who thinks it should be fewer and my teeth grate every time I hear "less" being used on news programmes, but that doesn't make me right.

One of the reasons the English language is the world's second language for non-English speakers is that it is a living language. We make every effort to understand what people are saying, even if it is grammatically correct, and debates like this just make us look stupid.

Longrider is a long post on the subject, covering off the etymology of the words, but the simple fact the meaning of words in the English has always changed, is changing and will continue to change. Lets get over it, life's too short.

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