Fewer salary/slaries

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat May 23 02:22:38 UTC 2009

At 5/22/2009 08:45 PM, ronbutters at AOL.COM wrote:
>My friend Mike has two salaries, one from Duke University and one
>from a private foundation.

So he's accumulating greater than I.  Or: He has 100% more salaries
than I have.  Or:  I have 100% fewer salaries than he
has"  [mathematical faux pas].  Or: ...


Seriously, I would say "he has twice as many salaries ..." or "I have
half as many salaries ..."  Here we are counting salaries -- but in
comparing amounts, we are not counting, so I think "less" is correct,
"fewer" is incorrect.


>------Original Message------
>From: Joel S. Berson
>Sender: ADS-L
>To: ADS-L
>ReplyTo: ADS-L
>Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Fewer salary/slaries
>Sent: May 22, 2009 8:05 PM
>At 5/22/2009 05:29 PM, Arnold Zwicky wrote:
> >On May 22, 2009, at 1:26 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
> >
> >>---------------------- Information from the mail header
> >>-----------------------
> >>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> >>Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> >>Subject:      Re: Five times less
> >>------------------------------------------------------------------
> -------------
> >>
> >>... I also have great difficulty with "two times
> >>less"; I have to say "one-half as much"
> >>
> >>At least they don't say "two times fewer"!
> >
> >?? if you're counting objects, then sticklers on "less"/"fewer" would
> >insist on "fewer".
>Isn't "salary" a mass noun?  I don't count salary/salaries, I
>accumulate it.  :-)   Am I supposed to say "I have (earn) fewer
>salaries than he?"
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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