did not know what to do, <the less as> the howling grew closer."

Gabriel Malheiros

Senior Member
Portuguese - Brazil
Hello, everyone

I am reading a book, and there is a sentence with "the less" that made me confused.

The sentece is in bold:

"The driver aaw it at the same moment; he at once checked the horses and, jumping to the ground, disappeared into the darkness. I did not know what to do, the less as the howling of the wolves grew closer."

Does "the less" mean "all the less" "even less"?

Thank you
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Excellent story. "I did not know what to do, the less as the howling of the wolves grew closer." = I did not know what to do, and not knowing was a state of mind which became worse as the howling of the wolves grew closer."

    The less (idiom) indicates that what has been denied (In this case, "I did not know what to do") has become worse/ less acceptable. It is now relatively rare.

    "The river was flowing quickly and I could not reach the boat, the less since it was now floating away."
     

    Gabriel Malheiros

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    Excellent story. "I did not know what to do, the less as the howling of the wolves grew closer." = I did not know what to do, and not knowing was a state of mind which became worse as the howling of the wolves grew closer."

    The less (idiom) indicates that what has been denied (In this case, "I did not know what to do") has become worse/ less acceptable. It is now relatively rare.

    "The river was flowing quickly and I could not reach the boat, the less since it was now floating away."
    I think I got it, PaulQ

    Can't it be replaced with "all the less" ... all the less/even less as/since the howling of the wolves grew closer?

    Thank you for all!!
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    "even less" almost works but is not a perfect synonym - it tends to be more literal that "the less"
    Since offers a reason and is not the same - in the original, the situation becomes worse as the wolves approached (the nearer they came, the worse the situation became) -> since would mean that it became worse because the wolves approached - the two are similar but not the same.
     

    Gabriel Malheiros

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    "even less" almost works but is not a perfect synonym - it tends to be more literal that "the less"
    Since offers a reason and is not the same - in the original, the situation becomes worse as the wolves approached (the nearer they came, the worse the situation became) -> since would mean that it became worse because the wolves approached - the two are similar but not the same.
    Now it makes sense to me!!

    PaulQ, you said "even less" almost works. So does "all the less" almost work too? Aren't they synonyms ? "all the less/more" and "even less/more"?
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    They all "almost work" - the problem is that even/all the less seems to use "less" to refer to the amount of knowledge to solve a problem - and he has already said that he has none.

    However, "the less" -> and such thought (of any sort) (or the capacity for thought) that was left in my head reduced as the howling of the wolves grew closer [making matters worse] - the narrator is telling the reader that he is moving from a state of not knowing what to do to one of panic.
     

    Gabriel Malheiros

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    They all "almost work" - the problem is that even/all the less seems to use "less" to refer to the amount of knowledge to solve a problem - and he has already said that he has none.

    However, "the less" -> and such thought (of any sort) (or the capacity for thought) that was left in my head reduced as the howling of the wolves grew closer [making matters worse] - the narrator is telling the reader that he is moving from a state of not knowing what to do to one of panic.

    I got it.

    PaulQ, does "the more" exist? I mean, in contexts like that?

    I don't know, something like:

    "My financial situation was very complicated, the more after I was fired/sacked"... very strange?

    Thank you for all. You've helped me a lot!!
     
    Last edited:

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    For those who -- like me -- don't know what "the well known Dracula rsrs" might be, I believe it's:
    Dracula: A Mystery Story by Bram Stoker (1897)

    I may be mistaken; 'rsrs' could be something else. :confused:
     

    Gabriel Malheiros

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    For those who -- like me -- don't know what "the well known Dracula rsrs" might be, I believe it's:
    Dracula: A Mystery Story by Bram Stoker (1897)

    I may be mistaken; 'rsrs' could be something else. :confused:
    I am sorry, Cagey. I thought you used "rsrs" as a way of representing a "laugh" in English.

    Yes, it is Dracula by Bram Stoker.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    If Stoker were alive today, he would probably have written “I had no idea what to do, and the situation was not improved as the howling of the wolves closed in.”

    And for the more:

    It was recognised as a beautiful house with its large windows and clean lines, the more by its setting in a woodland.
    It was recognised as a beautiful house with its large windows and clean lines, and its beauty was enhanced by its setting in a woodland.
     
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