Adacore wrote:I can't think of anything specific that really bothers me, but I know my mother freaks out when she hears people using the word 'less' to talk about a reduction in the number of some discrete entities. It should always be 'fewer' unless the subject quantity is continuous.
I'm aware of that rule, but the existence of the rule bugs me.
We use the word "more" for discrete quantities and for continuous quantities. More cows, more milk.
"Less milk" is fine. I probably wouldn't say or write "less cows" in formal contexts; I know that it sounds wrong to many people, and I'll admit that it sounds slightly "off" to me as well.
But since we use "more" for both discrete and continuous quantities, it's not as though logic "demands" that we maintain the "less"/"fewer" distinction. There's no inherent reason that "less" and "fewer" have to be two separate words; I can't see how it isn't anything more than a historical accident.