Is this question correct?

Tank needs 8 minutes less to empty the tank than it needs to fill it.

Should we use 'lesser' here as 'than' is used for comparison. Please clarify it.

  • No, 'less' is correct over 'lesser', but your overall phrasing is somewhere between awkward and grammatically incorrect, I'm not entirely sure which. I would phrase it "The tank needs 8 minutes less to empty than it needs to fill". (That is, notwithstanding the less/fewer debate.) Jan 30, 2020 at 22:58

2 Answers 2


"Less" is grammatical here. I suspect what is bothering you is that the sentence is awkward. That does not make it wrong (although some may say that "fewer" is preferable to "less").

Filling the tank takes 8 fewer minutes than does emptying it.

  • "Eight fewer minutes" is a nonsense. Even leaving aside the utter bogusness of the less/fewer rule, what is being compared is the (continuous, uncountable) time, not the number of seconds.
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 31, 2020 at 0:07
  • What is being counted is the number of minutes. Obviously, minutes are countable. In fact, I beilieve that the specific sentence asked about sentence references a number used in counting, namely 8. Jan 31, 2020 at 1:24
  • MInutes are countable. Time, not being discrete, is not. Would you say "it takes 7.43 fewer minutes"?
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 31, 2020 at 10:22
  • yes, I see now that you were talking about style (you said "some may say"). As a question of style, nobody can object (I tend to use fewer myself, but I find this example jars). It is usually couched as a rule of grammar, and in that sense it's bogus, having been invented by Robert Baker in 1770.
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 31, 2020 at 14:41
  • 1
    @Colin, I am going to delete my prior comment. I dislike arguing about style. The original sentence was, in my opinion, so awkward that any answer was likely to raise objections that the answer was too narrow or too broad. "Less" is definitely grammatical. Whether "fewer" or "less" is more euphonius depends on one's taste and how the sentence is rewritten Jan 31, 2020 at 15:58

Should we use 'lesser' here as 'than' is used for comparison.

No, you shouldn't.

lesser is not applicable here as one quantity of time (that of emptying the tank) is smaller than another (that of filling it) and it's an exact use case for ...less...than....

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