On the title of the vocabulary column

Does the average American student have less vocabulary today than in days gone by?Is that a correct usering of “less”? Shouldn’t it be “fewer”? :wink:

  1. Seriously, though, I’ve heard of people having a limited vocabulary, a smaller vocabulary, but never “less vocabulary”. Is that a newly coined phrase?

  2. Since the word in question is in the headline and not the text, could it be the work of a Reader editor rather than Cecil, or does he write his own his headlines?

It seemed a bit awkward to me, too, but “fewer vocabulary” would much worse.


That was a joke. See the ;)?
The real questions follow the word Seriously.

My apologies. I remembered the post below vaguely and I meant to search for it later, but I forgot.


And you’ll notice that that headline writer made the “mistake” on the same word, “less”.
Although in the prior case I think “less” was a legitimate usage. As Merriam-Webster says: “Less has been used to modify plural nouns since the days of King Alfred.”

About the comment from Bibliophage: “Prêt-à-Poster, for future reference, posting the same question twice in two different SDMB forums is called cross-posting and is not allowed here.” Actually, since my post on the CCC forum sat unanswered for two days after a boost, I had a choice of boosting it again (also a taboo at SDMB) or re-stating it for a different set of posters. I considered waiting until it was so old that it could no longer be boosted again because it would be a zombie thread (another taboo), but that time period is always up for debate :smiley:

I’m pretty sure there was a third option.

Would less “of a” vocabulary make any more sense?

In retrospect, I could have been more diplomatic about it. I didn’t really expect you to know the crossposting rule. My post shouldn’t be seen as a warning, just a guideline.

If you don’t get a good answer, it’s not such a bad thing to bump a thread shortly after it falls off the first page (after 2 days by default, I believe). I saw your second post in this thread as a reply to RiverRunner rather than a bump in the usual sense. For what it’s worth, the rule against responding to zombie threads, provided you have something useful to add, isn’t really enforced in the Comments forums.