1- "This book has the fewest number of pages."
2- "The tour guide said that ten is the least number of tourists she can take on the boat trip."
These two sentences are taken from a school book taught to 3rd year preparatory in Egypt.
I think the first sentence is OK but I am confused why the second sentence contains "least" not "fewest"
"English Grammar Usage"
Hi, Mr P.,
Generally, we do not speak of "the fewest number of" or "the least number of," just as we don't speak of "the most number of"; rather, we refer to "the smallest number of" and the "the largest number of." Let's revise the textbook sentences:
1a) This book has the smallest number of pages.
2a) The tour guide said that ten is the smallest number of tourists she can take on the boat trip.
Some people feel it is incorrect to use "least" with count nouns, that "least" should be reserved for noncount nouns. The examples have count nouns. Here is how we could revise the sentences so that they use "fewest" rather than "least."
1b) This book has the fewest pages.
2b) The tour guide said that the fewest tourists she can take on the boat trip are ten.