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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Comparative of minority    

Comparative of minority


Comparative of minority


I know that, if I want  to write  a sentence with a comparative of minority I can use 2 structures:


1. Neg + As + adj + as   =  He is not  as tall as John.

2. Less�.. than .


In some grammar books it is written that it is better to use  LESS with  singular nouns and not with adjectives.  

Ex . In  Bristol   there is less traffic than in London.


So I wouldn�t say  He is less tall than Jonh� because �tall� is an adjective.


If I google �Comparative of minority� I can read that it is allowed to use less even with adjectives and I find a lot of examples.  So, dear teachers and native speakers, what do you think about that?


Thanks for your replies,


23 Mar 2013      

United States

Although it is better to say "He is shorter than Josh", it is definitely correct and not uncommon to say "He is less tall than Josh", especially if both of them are tall. In the winter, Tennessee is less cold than Ohio. Both are cold, but Ohio is colder, so Tennessee is less cold.
We wouldn �t use it in every situation. My sister is younger than I am (not "less old").
My car is less red than yours, or My car isn �t as red as yours. Both sound OK, but "Not as...as" always sounds more natural, I think. In grammar books, you will be told that for negative comparisons, you must always use "Not so...as", but this "rule" has faded away almost completely. I �m not sure that I have even heard anyone use "Not so...as" in the last 40 years.

23 Mar 2013     


less + adj. is very frequent indeed...
sometimes grammar books are wrong because they state general rules that have changed - because when a spoken language is always evolving...
my rule is "never say never" and that �s what I tell my pupils - and when we talk about grammar rules we tend to write "should, can..." instead of "must/have to..." that way my pupils know they will always find exceptions to the rule we �ve just talked about...

23 Mar 2013     


Thanks for your answers!
 I wonder what would say a British native speaker.
What Bruce said is really important for me: native speakers know how real English is.
In fact  it so rare to hear the form : neg + as+adj+ as.
Have a nice day,

23 Mar 2013     


As a native British speaker: "He �s less tall than John" sounds really strange to me.  I don �t know that I �ve ever heard it.  I would use, without a doubt: "He �s not as tall as John" or, of course: "He �s shorter than John". 
I would be interested to hear what other Brits say.  By the way I �m from the south-east of England.

24 Mar 2013     

United Kingdom

Comparatives or superlatives i.e. tall, taller, or tallest could be used as the comparison to write such a sentence

24 Mar 2013     

United Kingdom

I agree with Jannabanna, i would definitely say he �s not as tall as John or he �s shorter than him over he �s less tall than John... However i �m also from the south of England and it might be different elsewhere!

8 Apr 2013