Presentation Skills Tip: The Less, the Proud, the Marines?

Here is another article with a presentation skills tip by author and editor Eleanor Dugan my Grammar Granny.  Hope this will help you sound more intelligent.

The Less, the Proud, the Marines?

The title of this column should grate harshly on your ears if you’re familiar with the slogan of this branch of our armed forces. Of course, it’s “The FEW, the proud, the Marines!”

Like a secret handshake, old school tie, or Giants cap, the correct use of “less” and “few” offers a nifty way to recognize others in your group, the true professionals. If the distinction between the words gives you trouble, here is a guide to know when to use what.

• Anything that can be counted uses “few” and “fewer.”

• Anything undefined or not measured in specific units uses “less.”

Patricia Fripp giving presentation skills tips
Patricia Fripp giving presentation skills tips

Fewer sales
Less business

Fewer inches of snow
Less snow

Fewer jobs
Less employment

Fewer crimes
Less crime

Fewer pains
Less pain

Fewer triumphs
Less success

Andronico’s grocery chain in the San Francisco Bay Area has check-out lines labeled “12 Items or Fewer.” Grammar Granny’s kind of store!

©Eleanor Dugan, 2011,

If you want more help with your presentation skills and public speaking techniques check out Patricia Fripp’s articles.