- less [ les ] function word ***Less is the comparative form of the function word little and can be used in the following ways:as a determiner (before a noun):Eat less fat.Schools put less emphasis on being creative.as a pronoun:Connie did less than anyone else. (followed by of ):He seemed to spend less of his time with her.as an adverb (before an adjective or another adverb):The red jacket is less expensive. (with a verb):I've been trying to work less on the weekends.as a preposition (before a noun):a profit of $5,000, less tax1. ) a smaller amounta ) used for referring to an amount that is smaller than another amount, smaller than before, or smaller than you expected:You should eat less and exercise more.The industry operates with less government control these days.less...than: The new Ford is designed to use less fuel than earlier models.The workers earn less now than they did ten years ago.less of: I aim to spend less of my time traveling from place to place.a little (bit) less: I wish you'd do a bit less talking and a bit more work.much/a lot/far less: Payments will be a lot less than many people were expecting.There is far less trouble in the region now than there has ever been.b ) less than used before a number or amount to say that the actual number or amount is smaller than this:His death was the second skiing tragedy in less than a week.In some areas there is a less than 30% turnout in local elections.2. ) used in making comparisons used for saying that there is not as much of a particular quality in one person or thing as in another, or not as much as there was before:Farmers are having to work with older, less efficient equipment.less...than: Many women are involved in the movement, but less publicly than men.much/a lot/far less: The homework was a lot less difficult than I expected.less of a: Getting there is less of a problem if you have a car.3. ) not happening as mucha ) happening or doing something fewer times or for shorter periods of time:We've been trying to use the telephone less this month to keep costs down.less than: We talk a lot less than we used to.b ) to a smaller degree:less...than: My husband worries about things less than I do.not...any (the) less: Even after she told me, I didn't respect her any less.4. ) taking a number away used in front of a number or amount to state that it should be taken away from another number or amount that you have just mentioned:We made $3,000 profit on the deal, less tax.5. ) not as much like one thing as another used for saying that one way of describing someone or something is not as true or as accurate as another:less...than: His statement was less an apology than a confession.The problem may be less a social issue than a legal one.in less than no timeextremely quickly:We called the ambulance, which arrived in less than no time.less and lessgradually getting smaller in amount or degree:Fishing was growing less and less profitable.Though the public cares about the story less and less, the papers continue to report it.the less...the less/moreused for saying that when a particular activity, feeling, etc. is reduced, it causes something else to change at the same time:Sometimes it seems like the less I do, the more tired I feel.less than honest/satisfactory/happy etc.used for saying that someone or something is not at all honest/satisfactory/happy etc.:The director admits that he was less than enthusiastic about the new school uniforms.It was obviously a less than perfect marriage.The President has been shown to be less than honest.no lessused for emphasizing that the person or thing you are talking about is very important:She received a letter from the President, no less.no less than1. ) used before a number or amount for saying that it is the lowest possible:The hamburgers should contain no less than 50% meat.2. ) used before a number or amount for showing that it is large and surprising:Exports have risen by no less than 80% in the last ten years.nothing less thanused for emphasizing how important or serious something really is:Their willingness to work together is nothing less than miraculous.still/much/even lessused after a negative statement in order to emphasize that it applies even more to what you say next:They are not interested in reading poetry, still less in writing it.I am no one's spokesman, much less his.
Usage of the words and phrases in modern English. 2013.