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Song Parodies -> "Fewer / Less (Usage Guide)"

Original Song Title:


Original Performer:

The Beatles

Parody Song Title:

"Fewer / Less (Usage Guide)"

Parody Written by:

Tommy Turtle

The Lyrics

The "gram-marody" requested by Rex in his comment to "Who And Whom (Usage Guide)".

Short and sweet:
Got a thing that's vague, not things discrete
Molten gold, or poop of bull, or wheat,
That you cannot...
...Count, nice and neat?

OK, yes...
Why is TT telling us this mess?
For collective lump, then we use "less"
I have less gold
(But more BS)

Can... you... count it through:
"One, three, two"?
Here's what we do:
Eu-...-ros... pounds or bucks?
Well, aw, shucks!
Then we use "few (...-ew ... -ew... -er...)

Fewer peas
We have more of those, but fewer, these [1]
He gets fewer Fives and Fours than Threes
Few parodies --
-- Of TT's please

Have... you... got it now?
Sheep or cow: then, "fewer", use
But... for... "open range"
Or for "mange": "less". Don't confuse!

"Chicken" TT has less nerve than she
("Turtle: fewer nerves than chimpanzee")
'Cause courage can't ...
...Be counted, see? [2]

Use "less" to indicate degree...

[1] Or "fewer of these"

[2] We wouldn't say, "She has three courages". So courage or nerve (as a quality) is compared by using "less", as opposed to "nerves", which are individual, countable things in your body.

To sum up: If it's one vague lump, quantity, or quality, like courage, gold, wheat, oil, or money, use "less":
"Russia exports less wheat than the U.S., but the U.S. should use less oil, and its government should spend less money."
If it's individual units that could be counted, use "fewer":
"There are fewer grains of wheat in a pound than in a kilogram." "Fewer barrels of oil burned..." "Fewer tax dollars spent..."
The difference in the second example is that grains, barrels, and dollars are individual units that can be counted. (Yes, you can count "money", but only if you count it in units, as euros, pounds, or dollars, etc.)

Making any sense here?

*Extra Credit*: The gurus tell us that it's OK to use "less" if the number of countable things is referring to a single measurable quantity: "Less than two weeks before exams" ("Less time than...") or "Less than 200 million barrels of oil in the reserve" ("Less oil than...") .

Not sure why "Yesterday" is so suitable for grammar parodies - it just *is*. © 2007 Tommy Turtle. All rights reserved. Teachers who wish to use this parody for educational purposes may display and/or print it (but not sell it), without modification and with proper credit, including a link to this page.

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Original Song: 
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Voting Results

Pacing: 4.3
How Funny: 4.3
Overall Rating: 4.3

Total Votes: 12

Voting Breakdown

The following represent how many people voted for each category.

    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
 1   2
 2   0
 3   0
 4   0
 5   10

User Comments

Comments are subject to review, and can be removed by the administration of the site at any time and for any reason.

TJC - October 09, 2007 - Report this comment
Absolutely Brilliant... even moreso considering you wrote it last night on a dare! And to show I was paying attention... If anyone votes less than 5's, I couldn't care fewer about them! (there's a less-on here, somewhere!)
Project Sisyphus - October 09, 2007 - Report this comment
Excellent. Now, let's have one for "their" and "they're" and maybe everyone can learn English again. Or "its" and "it's" (extra credit if you don't rhyme with "tits"). Its gonna be fun!
alvin - October 09, 2007 - Report this comment
another brilliant / hilarious english lesson
McKludge - October 09, 2007 - Report this comment
TT, the Fewer Führer. Fünf Fünf Fünf!
There, Their, They're (Usage Guide) - October 09, 2007 - Report this comment its/it's:
Tommy Turtle - October 09, 2007 - Report this comment
TJC, thanks... glad it stuck :)
Project Sisyphus, thanks... As you can see from TTTUG's comment, your wishes have already been granted, one by Phil Alexander and one by somebody else. Hope they're fun!
alvin, thanks :)
McKludge, not sure if that's a desirable title :) Thanks, McK.
TTTUG, thanks for pointing us to those.
Phil Alexander - October 09, 2007 - Report this comment
So, do we need "less" or "fewer" grammatical parodies? Neither! More :-)
Couldn't help but wonder, though: do you think McKluge will vote "fünf fünf fünf bis ihren Vater nimmt den T-Vogel weg"?
AFW - October 09, 2007 - Report this comment
Havin' fun at TT's word school...great work
Rex - October 09, 2007 - Report this comment
Thank you Sir Turtle for this excellent lesson. Or should that be "feweron"?
PMS - October 09, 2007 - Report this comment
No fewer than 3 fives. Nothing less will do
TT - October 09, 2007 - Report this comment
Phil Alexander: 'Tis praise indeed from a lofty source... thanks Phil.... oh, and would you believe that TT had the same thought at McK's vote, but dismissed it as insanity? It's so nice to have company in the asylum! :) :) :)

AFW: thanks :)

Rex: LOL! Thanks, Rex, and thanks for the suggestion... a fun write :)

PMS: :) :) :) Go to the head of the class! ... thanks P.
MrMacphisto - October 09, 2007 - Report this comment
Less is more... 5-5-5
TT - October 09, 2007 - Report this comment
MrMacphisto, (lol) thanks.

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