If we’ve lost a team member, do we have ‘one member less’, ‘one less member’, ‘one member fewer’, or ‘one fewer member’?


  • I believe we are in the process of losing the word "fewer" from the language, if I hear someone say "there are fewer people here today than yesterday" I expect the speaker to be over fifty. People under fifty would almost always say "there are less people here today than yesterday". It sounds awkward to me but "fewer" probably sounds old fashioned to them. Having said that the better form whichever you use is "one member fewer" or "one member less". – BoldBen Jan 17 at 8:13

Use "fewer" when referring to nouns that you can count, including "member." (My team has one member, two members, three members ...) That means either "one member fewer" or "one fewer member" is correct.

However, it's important to note that in casual, everyday English, many people will use "less" in this case. According to most linguists, that make "less" acceptable -- which is different from "correct." When considering this sentence, you may want to think about who's talking and who's listening or reading. Using correct English is wonderful, but it's not always necessary!

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