Results 1 to 4 of 4
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Feb 2011
    • Posts: 2
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    less or lesser

    What is the rule for using either less or lesser? It seems that in most cases, less would work as well as lesser.

    Thank you so much!
    Char

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Ukraine
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 15
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: less or lesser

    I have only seen "lesser" in the phrase: "choose the lesser of two evils". So my opinion is the follows, this form is outdated, like a historical one, which you find mostly in novels by Austen (for example) and in old set expressions... Maybe I'm wrong, but really, I haven't seen this word "lesser" used anywhere but for that expression.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 18,884
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: less or lesser

    If it has to do with "how much" in terms of quantity, use less. There's less milk in this glass than that glass, the price is less for this Web cam than that one, I took too much salad -- I wish I'd taken less.

    If it has to do with "how good" (quality), use lesser. The lesser of two evils, he's the lesser man of the two.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,135
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: less or lesser

    It's not uncommon with the meaning 'less important, less great', always directly before the noun:

    'Guardian' readers nibble on kumquats; lesser mortals think the kiwi fruit is the height of sophistication.

    The whole staff were involved, to a greater or lesser degree/extent, in the project.

Similar Threads

  1. Fewer or Lesser?
    By Ananlou in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 20-May-2009, 14:27
  2. lesser light vs lowliest light
    By beeja in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 11-Aug-2008, 16:17
  3. lower and lesser
    By lisa*** in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 27-Dec-2005, 04:03
  4. "to a lesser extent "
    By august in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-Dec-2005, 22:34
  5. Lesser expenditures vs. lower expenditures
    By Curious Cat in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 29-Sep-2005, 14:31

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •