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More - Less

More - Less

 

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More and Less

 

 

Hello! In this lesson, we will learn to use the words "more" and "less". Both words can be used as adjectives, adverbs, and nouns, but their meanings are essentially the same regardless of their grammatical function. The word "more" means a greater amount, and a greater number.

The word "less"means a smaller amount, and sometimes a smaller number.

Some examples of the usage of the "word" more are:

"Can I have more cookies?

There are not any more cookies.

David wants more rice.

There isn't any more rice."

The word "less" is generally used to mean a smaller amount with non-count nouns, like this:

"Next time I will put less sugar in the cookies.

We have less rice than we need."

However, sometimes it can be used with count nouns, when the count nouns refer to a set amount, like this:

"The piano costs less than two-thousand dollars.

Jennifer lives less than three miles from the school."

The word "more" also means to a greater degree, and the word "less" means to a smaller degree. With this usage, the words "more" and "less" are used to form comparative adjectives and adverbs if the case of adjective and adverbs of three syllables or more. For example, Jennifer tells David "My gloves are more beautiful than yours are." or David can say "This contract is less important than that one.".

Other examples are:

"My novel is more interesting than your work report.

Driving fast is more dangerous than driving carefully.

Your work report is less interesting than my novel.

Driving carefully is less dangerous than driving fast."

Now that we know how to use the words "more" and "less", let us listen to a dialog. In this scenario, David and Jennifer are in the kitchen. David is looking for something to eat.

David: Is there more chocolate cake?

Jennifer: No, but there is more spinach.

David: Are there more cookies?

Jennifer: No, but there are more apples.

David: I would like less spinach and more chocolate cake.

Jennifer: Would you like less milk and more beer?

David: Yeah! And I would like more junk food!

Jennifer: Would you like to be less healthy?

David: I would not like to answer any more questions.

David starts this conversation by asking "Is there more chocolate cake?". In this case, David uses the word "more" to mean a larger amount because "chocolate cake" is a non-count noun. Although we can count pieces of cake, we cannot count the substance of the cake itself. David could also have asked "Is there any more chocolate cake?" or "Do we have more chocolate cake?".

Jennifer answers "No, but there is more spinach.". In this case, Jennifer uses the word "more" to mean a larger amount, because "spinach" is a non-count noun. Although we can count servings of spinach, we cannot count the substance of the spinach itself. She could have answered, "There is no more cake, but there is more spinach." or "We do not have any more cake, but we have more spinach.".

David asks "Are there more cookies?". In this case, David uses the word "more" to mean a greater number because "cookies" is a count noun. He could have asked "Do we have more cookies?" or "Do we have any more cookies?".

Jennifer responds "No, but there are more apples.". In this case, Jennifer uses the word "more" to mean a greater number because "apples" is a count noun. She could have said "No, but we have more apples.".

David says "I would like less spinach and more chocolate cake.". In this case, David uses the word "less" to mean a smaller amount, since the word "spinach" is a non-count noun. He uses the more "more" to refer to a larger amount, since the word "cake" is also a non-count noun.

Jennifer asks him "Would you like less milk and more beer?". In this case, Jennifer uses the word "less" to mean a smaller amount, since the word "milk" is a non-count noun. She uses the more "more" to refer to a larger amount, since the word "beer" is also a non-count noun.

David answers "Yeah! And I would like more junk food.". "junk food" is food that tastes good but has little nutritional value . Foods like snack chips and candy are considered "junk food". In this case, David uses the more "more" to refer to a larger amount, since the word "food" is a non-count noun.

Jennifer asks David "Would you like to be less healthy?". In this case, Jennifer uses the word "less" to form the comparative of the adjective "healthy".

David answers "I would not like to answer any more questions.". In this case, David uses the word "more" to mean a smaller number, since the word "questions" is a count noun. He could have said "I do not want to answer any more questions.".

Now that we understand how the words "more" and "less" are used, let us listen to the dialog again.

David: Is there more chocolate cake?

Jennifer: No, but there is more spinach.

David: Are there more cookies?

Jennifer: No, but there are more apples.

David: I would like less spinach and more chocolate cake.

Jennifer: Would you like less milk and more beer?

David: Yeah! And I would like more junk food!

Jennifer: Would you like to be less healthy?

David: I would not like to answer any more questions.

Great! You have learned to use two very useful words. "Speak more English!".