less or fewer hours

Just off the same shelf:
In a sign that jurors had little difficulty reaching a verdict, the jury did not ask to review any evidence and reached a decision in fewer than 11 hours.

The extent of time, not the actual number of hours, is what’s significant. Make it “less than 11 hours.”

  • How one could decide “what’s significant”?
    Perhaps it was the author’s point to front the durability of the eleven-hour process.

“11 hours” does not normally mean “11 things, each of which is an hour”, it means “a length of time which we happen to call 11 hours”. “length of time” is a continuous quantity, so “less than” is preferable.