''Lesser'' and ''Fewer'' When should I use ''lesser'' and ''fewer'' properly in a sentence? What differs one from the other? Does ''lesser'' mean ''less important'' / ''inferior'' / ''of a smaller size or extent''? Have a look at the sentences I wrote below: 1) ''I have fewer books than you (have)''. 2) ''I shall not plead guilty to this lesser charge''. 3) ''Are you the lesser of his friends?'' 4) ''That is the lesser problem about which you should worry''. Are the sentences correct? (Please, if you should have extra time, provide me with a few more examples!) Thanks in advance.
Sep 3, 2018 11:49 PM
Answers · 8
(Part Two) Lesser is used differently from less: it means not as significant, not as important, occurring to a smaller extent or degree. Example: Being an accomplice, Tom faced a lesser charge and was released on bail. Here, Tom is compared with a mastermind, and being less involved in a crime, he faced a lesser charge. You may notice that “lesser” is only used before a noun (e.g. lesser charge). On the contrary, “less” can be used before adjectives or nouns. (e.g. less involved, less money). Since you requested for more examples, I have one for you that combines “lesser” and “fewer”: With the advent of social media, we have more friends and spend more time online, but we make fewer phone calls, spend less time focusing on our work and have lesser involvement in meaningful conversations. * Do note that “more” is another comparative adjective that is used with both mass and count nouns (e.g. more friends, more time) Now to your sentences: Jimmy has provided very thoughtful comments for your sentences indeed. 对于你的句子结构,他分析的非常好。太棒了! I hope this helps.
September 4, 2018
(Part One) Hi Luiz, “Fewer” modifies count nouns – things that can be counted, modified by a numeral and occur in both singular and plural forms. Examples include bird vs birds, two or three months. We use “fewer” as a comparative adjective to mean a smaller quantity when comparing two count nouns. Example: People who are careful make fewer mistakes (count noun). Here, “mistakes” is a count noun. We are comparing two groups of people ─ those who are careful (and make fewer mistakes) with those who are not careful (and make more mistakes). You did not mention “less” in your question, but just to complete the discussion, I would like to briefly describe the use of “less” before contrasting the difference between “less” and “lesser”. "Less" modifies mass nouns – things that are considered whole. Examples include sugar, time, money, freedom, respect. We use “Less” as a comparative adjective to mean a smaller quantity when comparing two mass nouns. Example: I have less money than Jack. Here, money is a mass noun (although dollars and cents are count nouns). “I” have “less” while Jack has “more”. Some people have a misconception that “less” is strictly used for comparing the quantity of two nouns. However, it depends on the way the sentence is written. Example: I have less money than my classmates. Here, I am comparing myself with all my classmates. You can think of the comparison of wealth between everyone else in my class and me. Although "less" is used, the sentence actually has the same meaning as "I have the least amount of money."
September 4, 2018
You are right about what lesser means, but omitting one fact, which is that it is only useful for comparing two things. If there are more than two, you should use 'least' instead. 1 and 2 are fine; 'pleading to a lesser charge' is a standard turn of phrase in court reporting, and it implies only two (the original charge, and the one the defendant pleaded guilty to). 3 is appropriate for a sad person with only two friends. 4 works only for a situation with only two problems, which seems too good to be true. It is also quite cumbersome: 'that is the least of your worries' is the standard form here.
September 4, 2018
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