Is This Tom Corbett Campaign Sign Grammatically Incorrect?
At first glance, as Philebrity and others have suggested, this Tom Corbett campaign sign appears to be grammatically incorrect.
Is this Corbett campaign slogan grammatically correct? “Fewer taxes” or “less taxation,” right? pic.twitter.com/AOsgfD08pf
— Chris Potter (@CPotterPgh) November 6, 2013
As WHYY’s Emma Jacobs pointed out, however, the few/less distinction isn’t as obvious as some think. She linked to this helpful New York Times guide from a guy called Philip Corbett. (Yeah.) He writes:
But it’s not as simple as plural (fewer) vs. singular (less). Sometimes “less” is correct even with a plural noun. The Times’s stylebook says this: Also use less with a number that describes a quantity considered as a single bulk amount: The police recovered less than $1,500; It happened less than five years ago; The recipe calls for less than two cups of sugar.
Unless Corbett was literally saying he wanted to reduce the types of different taxes on the books, rather than the total amount of taxes people were paying, it seems that “less” was in fact that correct usage. (At least according to the Times‘s style guide.) Anyways, I’m on Team Less.
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