Oh, HPV awareness ad.... It's not hard to use "less" and "fewer" correctly. Here you go:

If you can count them, you've got "fewer."

If you can't count it, you've got "less."

For instance:
I have fewer leprosy symptoms than you do; consequently, I have less discomfort than you do.
I not only have less milk in my glass than I did a minute ago, but I also have fewer cartons of milk in my refrigerator than I did before the hockey team arrived.
Express Lane: 10 Items or Fewer. (No, really. It should be "fewer." Every time. Fewer).
You know who, besides the HPV prevention lobby, doesn't know the difference between "less" and "fewer"? Justin Bieber.


His song title "One Less Lonely Girl" is ambiguous -- if it were about one girl who were made, by the ministrations of Mr. Bieber, to feel less lonely, than the title would be correct (although some grammatical authorities might recommend a hyphen to make the meaning clear: One Less-Lonely Girl).

However, I listened to this song. After suffering an acne outbreak, I discovered that Mr. Bieber really meant "fewer"; as evidence, he says, "I'll take her and leave the world with one less lonely girl."

In sum, I now have less respect for whoever is claiming to homeschool Justin Bieber; I hope this advice will result in fewer Justin Bieber fans. That itself should result in fewer cases of HPV.

Standardized Tests on McSweeney's

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A humorous, if cynical, look at standardized tests:


Zhong Guo Hua

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The Times weighs in on whether Americans will ever learn Chinese.  Having taken three terms of Mandarin at Dartmouth, I can assure you that learning Chinese is substantially harder than mastering the SAT, so my guess is no.  

Interestingly, it seems that many elementary school Chinese language programs in the U.S. are actually subsidized by mainland China.  I had no idea.

I will say: it certainly sounds strange to rap in a tonal language.

'Tis College Essay Season Once Again

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The NYT published an article entitled Earful Over Cheeky University Essay, containing the following excerpt from a student's application to the University of Chicago:

"Dear University of Chicago, It fills me up with that gooey sap you feel late at night when I think about things that are really special to me about you," the essay began. "Tell me, was I just one in a line of many? Was I just another supple 'applicant' to you, looking for a place to live, looking for someone to teach me the ways of the world?"

I recently located my own original Dartmouth essay (hiding away in a file box at my parents' house) -- perhaps I'll scan and post it soon. It was a bit cheeky, although I certainly didn't refer to myself as "supple."

Tutor Kitty

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In case you were wondering...

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- US Weekly

One features a drunk storyteller and Michael Cera; the other gets a standing ovation from Barack Obama.

A Tutor Not to Hire

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From the EnglishFailBlog:


This really made me laugh.

Best Music Video About Trigonometry Ever

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