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 Sep 26, 2019 at 2:02

1 Answer 1


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, 2019 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, 2019 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, 2019 at 9:47
  • Actually I want to describe the word 'minutes' with an adjective, in Present simple tens.
    – xeesid
    Sep 25, 2019 at 9:51
  • 1
    "You are 3 minutes short of your training period"
    – Antonio D.
    Sep 25, 2019 at 9:58

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