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Tesco checks out grammar error

Published 3 Sep 2008
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Tesco is to change the wording of signs on its fast-track checkouts to avoid any linguistic dispute. The supermarket giant is to replace its current '10 items or less' notices with signs saying 'Up to 10 items'.

Tesco's move follows uncertainty over whether the current notices should use 'fewer' instead of 'less'.

The new wording was suggested to Tesco by language watchdog The Plain English Campaign. Tesco said the change would be phased in across its stores. "Saying up to 10 items is easy to understand and avoids any debate," a spokesman for The Plain English Campaign told the BBC.

'Fewer' should be used when you are talking about items that can be counted individually, for example, 'fewer than 10 apples'. 'Less' is correct when quantities cannot be individually counted in that case, e.g. 'I would like less water'.

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