This all began as I noticed fewer and fewer instances of people using the word “fewer”.
Everything is “less”. “Less than”. Nothing anymore is ever “fewer than”.
Grammarians will tell you that “less” and “fewer” are words that demand distinct usage. Like “you’re” and “your”, “then” and “than”, “it’s” and “its”, “who” and “that”…on and on.
If you’re particular about these things…if you’re OCD…and if you’re sad for the rapid loss of legacy English word usage, punctuation, and spelling…then you can get upset about the use of “less” v. “fewer”.
‘Seems like a trivial thing in the midst of COVID, and elections, and BLM and all…but bear with me.
I don’t have my panties in a wad,
I’m just making a point about change.
It’s inevitable, and so is the morphing of our language. The thing is how well can you stay abreast of it all, and when does the pace of change become indecipherable to the masses… or how does that affect your voiceover work?
For instance, consider the following sentence:
“For people that make decisions about your future, you need to vote your conscience.”
If you were auditioning that copy, would you be willing to (correctly) make the slight change to say: “For people WHO make decisions about your future, you need to vote your conscience.” After all people are humans, not things.
If you make that change, would it upset the client or the ad writer that you fiddled with the copy, or that you care enough to do the right thing? But would they recognize that you did the right thing, or would they even know?
I could go on and on, about people dropping the “-ly” from adverbs, or “-ed” from past tense words, or helper verbs from common statements of fact (“…police worried about rioting”, instead of “…police are worried about rioting”).
I hesitate to write about grammar or punctuation. I’m sure a rabid grammarian would find plenty to criticize about this blog thus far. I use “hafta” and “wanna” or “gonna” when I write, and I understand this, too, contributes to the degradation of our language.
But with texting and loss of cursive, text-to-speech, and other influences, I worry that the speed with which our language is changing might leave some behind.
Let me ask you this: when you read bad spelling, grammar, and punctuation, you know it, right? Not to be a snob, but is it bad to want to uphold a few rules about common speech, or are we on the verge of not being able to understand each other?
I think, more or less, there’s a point to be made there.
Fewer people would count you as illiterate if you uphold good habits in speaking and writing. Fewer clients, too, would hold it against you for doing the right thing…it might even be the difference that wins you the audition.
We’ll, would you? Would you change ‘that’ to WHO? You left me hanging. I’ve wanted to many times, but haven’t yet. I think I might now. PS. Congrats on the new gig.
Larry, I would, and HAVE done exactly that. ‘Didn’t get the gig…but maybe it got me noticed.
Thanks for commenting.