"fewer than" vs. "less than"

Please answer each one. These seem tricky. I’ve numbered each one for ease in answering.

  1. No less than 300 people showed up for the concert. OR No fewer than 300 people showed up for the concert?
    I hear and see both.

  2. Write a paragraph about an environmental issue in 200 words or fewer. OK? You can count words, so “fewer” would be correct?
    I’m told that both “fewer/less than” may be used in these two:

  3. No fewer/less than eight students flunked the exam.

  4. No fewer/less than 30 people applied for the job.

  5. In 25 words or fewer/less, please synopsize what took place.

  6. fewer / less calories?
    You need to eat less / fewer sweets.

  7. 10 Items or Less / 10 Items or Fewer?
    I see “10 Items or Less” at registers in supermarkets. Shouldn’t it be “fewer”?

  8. Less than five percent of the population will be affected.

Thanks so much!

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‘Fewer’ is still demanded of countable nouns in tests and some teachers’ essay assignments, but ‘less’ has a long history and a current place modifying both countable and uncountable nouns.

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