Using comparative forms while making comparisons only seems natural. However, Microsoft Word (Office 365) suggests 'less risky than' over 'less riskier than'. I know I can replace it with 'safer than' but why isn't 'less riskier than' correct? Or is it?

  • Internet searches also seem to favor 'less risky than' over 'less riskier than'.
    – ananta
    May 3 at 14:58
  • 4
    Less already indicates the comparative, so you need the standard form of the adjective risky rather than the comparative riskier. Similarly, you would say more safe rather than more safer. May 3 at 15:12
  • Thank you, @KateBunting.
    – ananta
    May 3 at 15:13
  • two-syllable words: less risky, more risky than but: more beautiful than, less beautiful than.
    – Lambie
    May 3 at 16:11

2 Answers 2


The suffix "-er" means "more". "Less" is the opposite of "more", so "less" + "-er" is always wrong in standard English.

Further, "less" includes the meaning of "comparative", as does "-er", so including "-er" is redundant, which is why "more" + "-er" is also wrong.

  • When a comparative form is available, should it be used instead of using more or less? For example, is 'riskier' is more appropriate than 'more risky'?
    – ananta
    May 3 at 15:35
  • 1
    Generally speaking, yes, the -er form is preferred where it is available. Some style guides insist on it, and standardized tests may mark you down for something like "more risky".
    – gotube
    May 3 at 15:39

For the comparative of inferiority there's no difference between long and short adjectives, we use "less" for both. And after "less", the adjective or adverb is invariable. So you should say: less risky than; less safe than, less kind than, less fast than, less slow than... And not : less riskier than; less safer than...

You must log in to answer this question.

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