Emotion: smile
I read on the forums that less is sometimes used with plural nouns, especially those expressing distances or periods of time. Yet, technically, fewer is to be used in such cases so in the end, what's the correct form (by correct I mean both in terms of grammar and "how a native speaker would say it", if you see what I mean).

"We can perform this task in less than 3 weeks"
"We can perform this task in fewer than 3 weeks"

Someone told me that the problem could be eliminated through the use of "under" i.e.

"We can perform this task in under 3 weeks".

So what's the best way of putting it?


Swan's Practical English Usage notes that 'in theory' fewer is used with plurals and less with uncountables. Swan goes on to say that in modern English, many people use less instead of fewer, especially in an informal style. Finally, he notes that 'Some people consider this incorrect'.

If I were you, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Best wishes, Clive
In this particular example -- "less than three weeks" vs. "fewer than three weeks" -- I would almost certainly use "less" because I'm thinking of "three weeks" as a single chunk of time, not as three individual weeks. In other words, I would take "fewer than three weeks" to mean "two weeks or one week," while "less than three weeks" might mean 12 days, 16 days, 19 days, etc.
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Thank you very much Emotion: smile
 khoff's reply was promoted to an answer.
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Dear friends,

It is my belief that «less than three weeks» means «less than three» + «weeks».

It is therefore perhaps that «less» qualifies «three», not «weeks». Emotion: smile

Kind regards, Emotion: smile