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How much less mean?

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โˆ™ 2012-11-06 14:19:36

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The word "less" is a vague term that requires personal judgment. If I handed you a plate of food, but you aren't very hungry, you might ask me for "less food". But if you were really hungry, and I offered you small servings, you might ask for "more" or "seconds".

"Less" can only be quantified--determined--by something that is already present. For examples:

  1. It rains every afternoon while I'm on vacation. I say, "I wish it would rain less." "Less", though, has no measurement. It only means not as much as there is now.
  2. Your mom made iced tea and put in a lot of sugar. With your next glass, you ask for less sugar--but your brother asks for more sugar! Less and more must be determined by your mom, because she knows how much she used the first time.
  3. A teacher says, "You need to do less talking, and more listening!" Well, if you only spoke once to a friend during class, "less" would mean "be silent; don't talk with friends." But if you are really talkative all the time, you have to surmise (from usual classroom rules) that the teacher means "Be quiet!". She doesn't really mean "less". Instead, she wants you to stop disrupting the class.
  4. Normally, a man was paid $35.00 US to mow a small lawn. A new customer only paid him $30.00 US. The man complains to his wife, "The lady kept telling me what to do and ended up paying me less than my normal fee." You have to know what he is normally paid to understand more definitively what he means by "less". BUT even without knowing the amounts, you will understand that he got paid less than what he normally earns.
  5. A mother of 4 children complains, "I wish I had less laundry to do and more time to relax!" We can't know what she means by "less"-- would she be happier if she had 6 loads to do and not 7 loads? Or would "less" for her mean "none"?

Often, the only way we can interpret what less means in a situation is to use our own knowledge, or ask a follow-up question to the person who used the word. Because "more" and "less" are SO inexact, it is much better if we try to say or write exactly what we mean!

  1. I wish it would stop raining before I go to the beach today.
  2. My mom puts two teaspoons of sugar in a glass of iced tea, but I prefer 1/2 of a teaspoon of sugar in mine.
  3. Stop talking! the teacher said sternly.
  4. I am paid $35 US per lawn and I do not give any lower rates.
  5. I wish I only had one load of laundry to do each day, but with 4 kids, the laundry sure piles up.
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Elmer Russel

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โˆ™ 2023-02-05 06:47:45
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