'Many less words'

Hi,
I am so afraid on my last email but I am really I hadn't have a complete example but what I have read in Michael Swan's reference 'Practical English Usage' in section comparison as follows: 'Many sometimes used to modify less(before plural noun) and fewer, but this is unusual; far, a lot etc are more common.
far less wards(more common than 'Many less words' ).
a lot fewer accidents (more common than 'Many fewer words' ).
This all what he mentioned in this section.
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    So you are asking about the use of "less" with plural nouns?

    If you look at section 312.9 of Michael Swan's Practical English Usage, you'll see that he says
    The (very old) use of less with plurals is becoming more acceptable.
    .....There were less people than I expected.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Yes I have just looked at it but I saw this example:
    "far less wards(more common than 'Many less words' )."
    "a lot fewer accidents (more common than 'Many fewer words' )."
    In the section 140.2
    What is your question about the example, a cooperator?
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Michael Swan's reference 'Practical English Usage' in section comparison as follows: 'Many sometimes used to modify less(before plural noun) and fewer, but this is unusual; far, a lot etc are more common.
    far less wards(more common than 'Many less words' ).
    a lot fewer accidents (more common than 'Many fewer words' ).
    This all what he mentioned in this section.
    I don't know why M Swan talks about using less with plural nouns because it is not really correct.Less goes with uncountable nouns which do not usually have a plural form. Many people do use less instead of fewer so maybe he is taking a practical modern approach and acknowledging a reality.

    Added-Yes, as Loob has confirmed.
    you look at section 312.9 of Michael Swan's Practical English Usage, you'll see that he says The (very old) use of less with plurals is becoming more acceptable.
    .....There were less people than I expected.


    Off- topic comment

    You often say that you are 'afraid' but I am sure you mean sorry, not afraid. It is true that some native speakers, especially I think British English speakers, sometimes use afraid instead of sorry but usually (maybe always) in speech and it often isn't a real apology. Native speakers are able to choose between afraid and sorry to suit the occasion. It is much better for non -native speakers to say "I am sorry about my last post" or "I am sorry that I didn't quote the source".


    :)"
    Hermione
     
    Last edited:

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Basing on the section 140.2 of Michael Swan's Practical English Usage
    Can I say " there are many less people/ cars in the street."?
    Well, you might hear it, but I wouldn't recommend you to say it. Nor does Michael Swan - this is what he says (my underlining):

    When more modifies a plural noun, it is modified by many instead of much
    [...]

    Many is sometimes used to modify less (before a plural noun) and fewer, but this is unusual; far, a lot etc are more common.


    I suggest that you say "there are a lot fewer people" or "there are far fewer people".
     
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