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(1) There are a lot of mice, but much fewer cats in the room.

(2) There are a lot of mice, but many fewer cats in the room.

Which is correct, or wrong?
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Comments  
Teleostomi(1) There are a lot of mice, but much fewer cats in the room.

(2) There are a lot of mice, but many fewer cats in the room.

Which is correct, or wrong?

Sentence 1 is correct.
much fewer: fewer is an adjective and is modified by much as an adverb of degree.

Many is a determiner, that is, a noun modifier, and can not modify an adjective.
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Interesting.

the google hits:

"many fewer"------772,000

"much fewer"-------570,000

How to explain?
Maple
Interesting.

the google hits:

"many fewer"------772,000

"much fewer"-------570,000

How to explain?

Look for 'unviersity' in Google, and you'll be able to get a lot of examples. You cannot depend on Google to prove your point!
I agree that you can't rely on Google exclusively, but with almost 3/4 of a million hits, and more hits than the thus-far preferred "much fewer" you have to take the results seriously.

I would say "far fewer" as my first choice, "many fewer" as my second. "Many," like "fewer," is used for things you can count. "Much, like "less," is used for things you cannot count. Therefore "much" and "fewer" don't go together, in my mind.
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Simple Search of BNC-World

Your query was
much fewer 


A04 439 A well-known picture book of Italian art alone contains more than 4,000 reproductions, yet histories of art, as we have seen, contain fewer, sometimes much fewer than 1,000 plates.



HRM 1430 Moreover, those who do not own their homes have much fewer incentives.
Native speakers seem to be just as confused as anybody.

BNC (British National Corpus) search results:
"much fewer" - 10
"many fewer" - 23

Many wins here, too.

The fact is, a lot of native speakers hardly ever use the word "fewer". But if they do, there are other ways to express the idea of much/many fewer and thus avoid the "much/many" question all together:
- a lot fewer
- far fewer

And, much to the dismay of some English teachers, it's not particularly unusual to hear lessused when referring to countable things.Emotion: surprise
The sign for the express lane in many supermarkets is a prime example: "Ten items or less"
.
BNC search results:
"much fewer" - 10
"many fewer" - 23

Many wins here, too.

But the fact is, a lot of native speakers hardly ever use "fewer" and if they do, there are other ways to express the idea of much/many fewer and thus avoid the "much/many" question all together:
- a lot fewer
- far fewer (as GG mentioned)

And, much to the dismay of some English teachers, it's not particularly unusual to hear lessused when referring to countable things.Emotion: surprise
The sign for the express lane in many supermarkets is a prime example: "Ten items or less"
.
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