Eight items or less?

I’ve just read an interesting article about Sainsbury’s, the British supermarket chain: They used to have a sign at some of their checkouts that read ‘for customers with eight items or less’. Then one day a special agent of the EGP (the English Grammar Police) contacted them and had them change the text to ‘for customers with eight items or fewer’.

So beware of the EGP, they are watching you :-).[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening discussions: A conversation between a student and his counselor[YSaerTTEW443543]

:lol: :lol: :lol:

If I had a nickel for every time I’d heard that error from a native speaker, I’d be living exceedingly high on the hog by now! :lol:



Can I say something?

[color=red][size=150]Michael Swan[/size] suggets: (Practical English Usage)

It is just a so-called mistake. :shock:


Hi Tom

It’s not too surprising that Swan’s got that one on his “so-called” list. It’s quite a common “so-called” mistake. :lol:

But it’s not a bad idea to keep in mind that most grammar books omit the word “so-called” and flat out call it a mistake. As you may have noticed in some of the other posts, some people get downright militant about the misuse of less. :shock:

I did a little surfing and found a number of websites with people vehemently discussing the misuse of the word less. There is also a guy in Canada who wrote this on his blog:
Is the grocery industry going to end up destroying English grammar as we know it? :lol: :lol: :lol:


Well, I have a grammar book that was published in the eighties. In there you will find quite a number of rules that don’t seem to exist any longer. For example, according to that book the comparative of adverbs is more + adverb. (Could speak more slowly please?)

However, I often see phrases like Can you drive a little slower please?
This reminds me of the fact that native speakers don’t speak the way they speak because there are grammar rules. They speak that way because it sounds right. It’s the job of linguist to analyze the way people speak and see patterns which they then define as rules.
When a certain amount of native speakers start to speak in a different way, the linguists reanalyze the situation and adjust the rules accordingly. It’s never the other way round.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening discussions: What is the purpose of this conversation?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi Torsten

Right! And when you stop and think about it, it’s not terribly illogical to say “Can you drive a little slower please?” in view of the fact that “Can you drive a little faster please?” is perfectly grammatical. :lol:

Why is “faster” OK but not “slower”?


Torsten, have you ever seen this native speaker error:

Writing “would of” instead of “would have” ? :shock:

Yes Amy, I think would of is often used instead of would have because in spoken English they sound very similar. I also have seen things like I half to go…[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening discussions: A conversation between two university instructors[YSaerTTEW443543]

Amy, have you ever referred to Michael Swan’s Practical English Usage?

Do you have a copy of this book?


I used to, Tom, but it seems to have been permanently borrowed. :shock:

Hi Torsten
Isn’t it amazing how clearly spelling errors can show you just how much people are hearing the words in their heads when they write?

That is exactly the case with so many of my books–and I do not have the courage to ask them back!