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With a total population of less than two hundred and fewer [#permalink]
08 Sep 2005, 12:42
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With a total population of less than two hundred and fewer breeding females than ever before, the American crocodile seemed a decade ago to be in danger of disappearing.
(A) of less than two hundred and fewer
(B) lower than two hundred and less
(C) lesser than two hundred and fewer
(D) fewer than two hundred and less
(E) of fewer than two hundred and of fewer
Less is used for items that you can't count, e.g., amount, whereas fewer is used for items that you can count, e.g., number. With this in mind, I'm going with the first choice.
I was teetering between whether population was or was not countable since a population is tied to a number. I finally came up with this - if you can say "one population, two population..." then the item is countable and "less" can be used. Since you obviously can't do that for population, it is considered not countable. On the contrary, you can say "one breeding female, two breeding female..." so breeding females is countable and "fewer" can be used.