Is there any difference between uses of “less” in sentences below in terms of meaning. I mean use “less” in different place in sentences change the meaning ? Or Are word forms of them different from eachother?

1) He smoked less cigarette than me .

2)He smoked cigarette less than me .

3) He smoked less than me .


1 Answer 1


1) He smoked fewer cigarettes than me.

This refers to the quantity of cigarettes, e.g., if on a particular day, he smoked 5, but you smoked 10.

Also, for this reason - that of us discussing a quantity of items, as opposed to something singular - the correct word is "fewer", although "less" can be just as, if not more(!), idiomatic.

2) He smoked cigarettes less than me.

This refers more to the frequency of how often you smoke. It's more general, and isn't referring directly the number of cigarettes, but instead to how often you generally smoke cigarettes. It refers to "smoking cigarettes" as an activity.

3) He smoked less than me.

This is the same as 2), except that you are not specifying what you are smoking, but just talking about smoking in general.

  • 3
    To be strictly correct, (1) should be "He smoked fewer cigarettes than I did. Nov 30, 2019 at 9:31
  • Interesting, will update my answer - thanks!
    – Chris Mack
    Nov 30, 2019 at 11:16
  • It can also be 1) He smoked lesser cigarettes than me.
    – Boris
    Nov 30, 2019 at 11:30
  • @Boris, "lesser" in that case would describe some deficiency in quality, i.e. his cigarettes weren't as good in some way.
    – Chris Mack
    Nov 30, 2019 at 13:06

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