The hum was less now.

siares

Senior Member
Slovak
Dear all,
in: The hum from the gallery was less now. (Ripley Underground, P. Highsmith)
is the 'less' properly used?
I am trying to compare with parallel words - and I am guessing they are determiners, not adjectives:
The fruit in the gallery was little now.
The apples were more now.
The apples were many.
The apples were few / er.
The fruit was little.
The fruit was a lot.

The 'many' sounds OK to me, but none other.
What do you think?

Thank you.
 
  • siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Thanks.
    For count nouns, the parallel is fewer, right?
    That is according to WR only an adjective before the noun.
    adj.[before a plural noun]
    1. not many but more than one;
      scarcely any;
      hardly any:Few artists live luxuriously.
    2. some; several[a + ~]A few artists did manage to live luxuriously.
    Do you agree with the dictionary, that 'less' works differently to 'fewer' (that it can be an adjective without the 'before noun' proviso)?

    The hum was less now.
    The people were fewer now.

    Do they both sound fine?
    Thank you.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    The hum was less now.
    The people were fewer now.
    I find the first one pretty borderline: I can imagine people saying it, in informal circumstances, but I'd be very hesitant to write it down in formal ones.
    The second sounds fine, albeit a teentsy bit pedantic ... even There were fewer people now has a touch of the pedantic about it, given the imminent demise of fewer/fewest in daily discourse. But I'd be happy to write either, formally :)
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    I find the first one pretty borderline: I can imagine people saying it, in informal circumstances, but I'd be very hesitant to write it down in formal ones.
    The second sounds fine, albeit a teentsy bit pedantic ... even There were fewer people now has a touch of the pedantic about it, given the imminent demise of fewer/fewest in daily discourse. But I'd be happy to write either, formally :)

    Oh helloo!! :):):) Thank you very much!
    It is odd that one is too formal, and the other one too pedantic.

    Would you please take a look at the non-comparative version too, are both unremarkable?
    The hum was little now.
    The people were few now.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    It is odd that one is too informal, and the other one too pedantic. [I'm sure this was just a slip of the fingers, Siares :) ]

    Would you please take a look at the non-comparative version too, are both unremarkable?
    The hum was little now.
    The people were few now.
    The first doesn't sound informal: it sounds weird :eek:
    The second sounds a tad pedantic again :(
     
    Top