What is exact meaning of “fewer than” concerning numbers


These are short submissions that contain important new results and are
intended for faster publication. Letters are given priority handling.
While there is no page limit, typical letters are 3-4 printed pages
and have fewer than five figures.

This is written in a scientific journal for the contributing authors. What does it mean exactly. While they say typically you adhere to those standards and can also include more than pages and figures, does the typical letter have maximum 4 or 5 figures? Scientific language is normally very accurate, so the phrasing 4 figures mathematically "less than 5" makes me unsure. In my mother language we would not phrase it like this.


"Fewer than five" means between zero and four, inclusive.

"Fewer than n" means "< n" in mathematical notation, and not "≤ n".

As you say, scientific language tends to be precise, but this isn’t scientific writing. It is guidance for authors. The guidance isn’t describing something scientifically. It is deliberately flexible.

Source : Link , Question Author : user48953094 , Answer Author : James K

Leave a Comment