I was sitting with a friend of mine, and we were discussing a specific issue and he was very liberal. After having a cup of coffee, he started to be more conservative about the same issue. So, I told him "it seems that the coffee lesses your liberality" I feel that this sentence is an awkward, especially when using the word "lesses", isn't it? How to rephrase the sentence to more natural appearance?

  • I can't decide if I would more naturally use lessens or reduces. But I likely wouldn't use such a construction at all. I'd simply say "it seems that coffee makes you more conservative," just as you did when describing the question . . . Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 1:40

2 Answers 2


Is lesses a word?

I have only found 1 instance where it is a noun (thefreedictionary) but the word is probably archaic.

“Lesses” is not a word in the OED or Macmillan Dictionary.

I think you mean lessens...

I think you mean the word “lessens” which is a type of verb. Furthermore, the verb seems can be a linking verb and it is such in this case.

It seems that the coffee lessens your liberality

How can you tell?

If you can replace “seems” with verb form of to be (am, is, are etc.) it is a linking verb. However the that is just placed awkwardly, but if we switch it to:

“It is the coffee that lessens your liberality

or that can even be removed:

It seems the coffee lessens your liberality

Now since, linking verbs do not denote action but rather connects the subject with nouns, “the coffee” describes the subject "it" or acts as a subject-compliment and so it needs an action verb, such as lessens and we can replace lessens with other action verbs:

It seems that the coffee X your liberality.

X can be replaced with = weakens, heightens

Notice how they are 3rd person present verbs, because it is written in the 3rd person.


"So, I told him "it seems that the coffee lessens your liberality." works pretty well. Other synonyms of lessen , such as mitigates or reduces et. al. may work for you too.

  • Just a little side note; liberality and liberalism mean different things. Liberalism is best reserved for politics.
    – aesking
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 21:40

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