The boy had one tooth less than his sister.

I understand this sentence in meaning. For example if the boy has 30 teeth girl has 31 teeth. But what I couldn’t understand is the structure of “one tooth less” . Is this a noun it seems to me one tooth is an adverb which modifies the adjective less but if it so I can’t answer what the boy has . I mean there is no “something“ the boy has.

1 Answer 1


"One tooth less" is not grammatically correct, which is why you are having difficulty with it; it should be "one less tooth." But actually that is also incorrect because "tooth" is a count noun, so the proper adjective is fewer:

The boy had one fewer tooth than his sister [did].

One fewer is an adjectival phrase modifying tooth.

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