Supposing that, a player is supposed to spend 60 minutes in a training session. He spends 57 minutes. We say:

You have spent less minutes.

Is it right? I feel it is not, since 'less' modifies 'an uncountable noun'. But if we say:

You have spent fewer minutes.

It gives an impression that:

The player hasn't stayed long for the training session. Such as he spent only 5 to 10 minutes.

Question is, how to describe this thing (that the player has spent less time than he was supposed to) using the word 'minutes' a countable noun?

  • Although it should be fewer, neither sentence sounds normal. And the phrasing of the "impression" would be the player hasn't stayed long enough – Jason Bassford Sep 26 '19 at 2:02

I agree with what you have said regarding less and fewer. It should be:

  • You have spent less time. Less + uncountable noun.
  • You have spent fewer minutes. Fewer + countable noun.

However, as a native English speaker, I wouldn't use the noun 'minutes' in this sentence personally. I would say "you haven't spent enough time training yet" or "you've spent less time training than you were supposed to". To me, "you've spent fewer minutes" sounds really formal / literal, when the message we are trying to convey is that simply not enough time has been spent training.

  • So if we want to use the word 'minutes' what should be the sentence? – xeesid Sep 25 '19 at 9:40
  • 1
    In the case of 57 minutes out of 1 hour, you could say "You're 3 minutes short of your training period (an hour)", "You've still got 3 minutes to go", "You have spent 3 minutes fewer than you should have done". – Antonio D. Sep 25 '19 at 9:45
  • So we can say: You made three fewer minutes. But we can't say: You made tree less minutes. Right? – xeesid Sep 25 '19 at 9:47
  • Actually I want to describe the word 'minutes' with an adjective, in Present simple tens. – xeesid Sep 25 '19 at 9:51
  • 1
    "You are 3 minutes short of your training period" – Antonio D. Sep 25 '19 at 9:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.