Fewer – Less – More Examples

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destination, objective, goal, journey's end, stopping place, terminus, target, landing place

Fewer is the comparative of few (used with countable, plural nouns).
Less is the comparative of little (mostly used before uncountable, singular nouns).

Examples:

  • A receptionist would makeย less money than a director.
  • We usedย to go to the seaside every weekend, but now we have less time.
  • There were fewer eggs in the fridge than we had hoped.
  • I have fewer books than my grandfather.

Less may also be used before plural nouns in an informal style, although this is not typical:

  • These days I’ve got less/fewer problems than I used to have.

Less and fewer are used with the preposition OF before determiners (such as the, my, this) andย pronouns.

  • I wish my wife spent less of her money on expensive clothes.
  • There are fewer of us at the college reunions each year.
  • Fewer of theย intervieweesย were wearing ties than we’d expected.
  • Do you still drink a lot of alcohol? – No, I drink lessย of it nowadays.

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Of is not used before nouns without determiners.

  • If you want to lose weight, you should eat less chocolate and bread.
  • Fewer people haveย strictly healthy dietsย these days.
  • Peter has fewer friends than his brother.
  • I don’t think less time would’ve made him change his mind about leaving.

Less and fewer can stand on their own, that is without a noun, if the meaning is clear or as indefinite pronouns.

  • People do still go to church, but fewer/less than 50 years ago.
  • If you work less, you will earn less.
  • Have you got at least a kilo of apples? – No, we’ve gotย fewer/less.
  • Unfortunately, I sleep less than I should.

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On the flip side….

More is the opposite of ‘fewer’ and ‘less’ and can be used in quite a few different ways.

The comparative form: more is usually used with adjectives that have more than one syllable (except for adjectives ending in -y) to express that there is more of a particular quality.

Examples:

  • My sister is moreย talented than me.
  • Her outfit was more extravagant than what the hostess was wearing!

The determiner (more+noun): when moreย is used before a nounย it acts as a determiner to state that there is more of something. Generally, the preposition ‘of’ is not used in this structure.

Examples:

  • She has more children than any of her friends.
  • I always have more homework to do than my siblings.ย 

The lonely one: more can be used on its own if the context that it is being used in has already been established and is clear to the listener.

Examples:

  • Can I have some more please? (A child asking his mother for more of what is already in his cup)
  • I would like to have more but I think it’s too soon right now. (A couple talking about having more children)

The one with numbers (number+more+noun+infinitive): A number followed by more andย used with a noun and an infinitive definesย the quantity of a task that remains to be completed. Please note that in this structure, ‘more’ can sometimes be replaced by ‘another’.

Examples:

  • I have to write two more articles before Wednesday next week.
  • I would like to placeย justย one more bet!
  • Could I have one more/another glass of juice please?

The one with OF (more of+determiner+noun): ‘More of’ is usually used with articles and other determiners when talking about something in particular, which can be about people or objects.

Examples:

  • He’s more of a ‘mummy’s boy’ than I thought!
  • This computer seems to be more of a problem than a solution!
  • I’ll have more of the delicious red wine you gave me yesterday please.

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The adverb: moreย can be used as an adverb to describe an increase in an action or feeling.

Examples:

  • She looks more beautiful every day.
  • This house feels more suffocating every time I step inside.
  • I like her more every/each time I see her.

The double-more: the comparative phrase ‘more and more’ before an adjective is used to state that someone or something is increasingly becoming a certain way. In other words, if you’re trying to say there is a growing tendency towards something, then use the phrase ‘more and more’.

Examples:

  • I feelย more and more comfortable inย this neighbourhood every time we meet newย friendly people.
  • She’s getting more and more nervous as her wedding day approaches.
  • It is becoming more and more difficult to live without a smartphone.

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