Ten cats but one less person

July 21, 2014 • 11:17 am

The “Ten Cats” comic strip  written by Graham Harrop is well worth following, for it describes the adventures of Annie and ten cats who all live in a warehouse.  Apparently Linda, one of the strip’s regular commenters, passed away, and Harrop provided a touching tribute:

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p.s. Please don’t tell me that it’s one “fewer” person; Pinker dispels a lot of the “less/fewer” pedantry in his upcoming book on how to write, The Sense of Style.

h/t: jsp, Diane G.

21 thoughts on “Ten cats but one less person

        1. He does defend that, on the grounds that it’s meant ironically. (Presumably he also has to dispute the idea that Americans don’t get irony.)

  1. Or Pinker might just be right. As someone who has always followed the less/fewer distinction in writing (but probably not always in speech) and looked down on those who didn’t, I was rather chastened a few minutes ago by the Wiki entry, especially the 888 example of ‘laes worda’ from Alfred the Great.

    1. I’ve never thought about the less/fewer thing. I’m sure I’ve violated grammar rules but only because it sounded better.

  2. I would just like to point out that Pinker is certainly not the first to take on the less/fewer pedantry. According to the venerable Language Log, this particular peeve has already been disposed of by such mainstream style guides as Merriam-Webster’s.

  3. Ah, reminds me of one of my old favorites from Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean, in which two leaves in autumn contemplate the approach of winter (from memory):

    Leaf 1: “Even the stars in the heavens, after billions of years, must eventually burn out and fade away.”

    Leaf 2: “But Dad, why can’t we live for billions of years like that instead of only a single year?”

    Leaf 1: “Son, everyone wants to be a star.”

  4. I posted the following to this Ten Cats strip:

    A serious contender for cartoon of the year. Awesome. Not only in what it expresses, but in what it implies as well. This is a secular, subjective moral statement that puts to shame any religious pronouncement on the topic.

    As Somerset Maugham put it: “The right thing is the kind thing”.

  5. Vonnegut:

    Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — “God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.

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