Re: Interchangeable Adjectives?

Subject: Re: Interchangeable Adjectives?
From: "Wilcox, John (WWC, Contractor)" <wilcoxj -at- WDNI -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 13:37:49 -0700

> ----------
> From: Lucille Lattanzi[SMTP:lucille -dot- lattanzi -at- PERI -dot- COM]
> Discussion of usage as part of our writing group's documentation
> guidelines revealed differences of opinion:
> One side claims that modern usage for "less" and "fewer" is to
> consider
> them interchangeable in most cases.
Personally, I couldn't care less. However, if consensus could be found,
it would make for fewer such posts to the list.

A usage note in my American Heritage Collegiate Dictionary says, "The
traditional rule holds that fewer is used with expressions denoting
things that can be counted, while less is used with mass terms denoting
things of measurable extent. However, less than is used before a plural
noun that denotes a measure of time, amount, or distance." Examples:
fewer than four, less paper, less than three weeks.

> Same for "farther" and "further".
Using them interchangeably will go no farther than to further the

> The other side strongly disagrees. We are all Boomers between 42 and
> 55
> so our schooling couldn't have been too different in matters of usage.
> Our references are recent and tend to differentiate the meanings of
> these words as well. I appeal to the list for opinions on modern
> usage.
Another usage note in said dictionary says, "Farther and further have
been used interchangeably by many writers since the Middle English
period. According to a rule of relatively recent origin, however,
farther should be reserved for physical distance and further for
advancement along a nonphysical dimension." Example: Don't go any
farther until we are further along in our research. By the way, they're
> Lucille Lattanzi
> Periphonics Corporation
> Bohemia, NY, USA
Well, of course you're going to disagree. What do you expect from a
bunch of Bohemians? :-)

Regards from another boomer,

John Wilcox, Documentation Specialist
Timberlands Information Services, Application Delivery Group
Weyerhaeuser, WWC 2E2, Box 2999
Tacoma, WA 98477-2999 USA
253-924-7972 mailto:wilcoxj -at- wdni -dot- com
(I don't speak for Weyerhaeuser, and they return the favor.)

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