Writing Glitch #233

Because I skipped a day earlier, here’s another glitch:


The first sentence in this example… So clunk. Much awkward. Such verbose. Wow. (Sometimes, he deliberately mimics the patterns of common internet memes because he thinks it’s funny.)

Less is for things than can be measured but not counted; fewer is for things that can be counted.

Why is twenty-four hours hyphenated one way in the first sentence, but twenty-four-hour window is hyphenated differently in the second? It’s because in the latter, the hyphenated words function together as s single adjective.

You have a secret ability to identify people with fewer than twenty-four hours to live by seeing a red glow in the eyes of the doomed. No one has ever escaped the twenty-four-hour window. This morning, you see your eyes glowing in the mirror.


About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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4 Responses to Writing Glitch #233

  1. M. Oniker says:

    Please don’t think fewer of me because I often, in sloppy haste, write less. Wait, most people would applaud if I wrote less. I meant…


  2. D.T. Nova says:

    But time isn’t countable; almost nothing that has units for measuring it is.
    You wouldn’t say a distance is “fewer than 100 miles” or that a temperature is “fewer than 50 degrees”, would you?

    Liked by 1 person

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