I earn three times less this year.

I earn three times short this year.

Would it means the same if I use short instead of less. I know it is not exactly same but would it be understood what try to say ? If it has different meaning what does it mean?

2 Answers 2


No. "short" and "less" cannot be used in place of each other.

One reason for this is that "less" is a relative term (it's comparing the amount of one thing to something else), while "short" is an absolute term (it says that something is not long (or not long enough), without comparing it to anything else), so they don't really serve the same function in a sentence.

Another reason is that "short" almost always only means physical height or length, where "less" means amount or quantity. They're really not measuring the same thing.

You may be thinking of the idiomatic phrase regarding money: "to be (a bit) short" (meaning to have less money than you need for something). This use of "short" really only works when using that particular phrase (or a couple of other related ones), and doesn't work for the adjective "short" in general. Even then, when saying you are "short" to mean you don't have enough money, it strongly implies there is some particular amount that you need (and you need it right now), which you don't have (e.g. "I'm short on rent" meaning "I don't have enough to pay rent (right now)").

  • Does the second sentence have different meaning or it doesn’t make sense? If it has different meaning what does it mean? Mar 18, 2020 at 11:52
  • The second sentence is not grammatically correct, and doesn't make sense. If you said it to someone I think most English speakers would just look at you with a confused look on their faces.
    – Foogod
    Mar 18, 2020 at 18:48

You can't use it that way. "Short" can mean "lacking" for some purpose, such a paying a bill. You can say "I am short this month." or "I am short of funds this month."

Your first sentence doesn't make sense. You can say "I earned three times more this year than last year.", but "three times less" doesn't make sense.

You can say "I earned $1000 less this year.", but you can't substitute the word "short" there.

  • The first sentence does make sense. 'Three times less' or 'three times fewer' for countables means 'one third' where I come from (UK) (i.e. the reciprocal of the number). If I earned $30,000 in year 1 and three times less in year 2, I earned $10,000 in year 2. Mar 17, 2020 at 22:02
  • Doesn't second sentence make sense or does it have different meaning? Mar 18, 2020 at 14:46
  • Foogod already told you that the second sentence makes no sense. Mar 18, 2020 at 22:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .