Comparison: nouns ( more money, the most points ) - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionaries Online Cambridge dictionaries logo

Comparison: nouns (more money, the most points)

from English Grammar Today

More, less and fewer

We can use more, less and fewer with noun phrases to create comparisons which are similar to the comparative forms of adjectives and adverbs:

There was more snow this year than last year.

She has more problems than most people.

You should eat less junk food and start to take better care of your health.

There are fewer birds in the countryside now than there were 30 years ago.

Traditionally, we use less with uncountable nouns and fewer with plural countable nouns. Nowadays, many people use less with plural countable nouns. Some people consider this to be incorrect, and prefer to use fewer:

I think the room would look better with less furniture. (less + singular uncountable noun)

There were fewer cars on the roads twenty years ago. (fewer + plural countable noun; traditional correct form)

Less kids take music lessons now than before. (less + plural countable noun; considered incorrect by some people)

Warning:

We use more + noun phrase, not much + noun phrase, to make a comparison:

Footballers earn more money than other sportsmen.

Not: … much money than other sportsmen

More and more, less and less, fewer and fewer

We can use more and more, less and less and fewer and fewer in noun phrases to refer to things which increase or decrease over time:

There are more and more low-quality reality shows on TV.

I seem to have less and less time to myself these days.

She visited her family on fewer and fewer occasions, till soon she stopped seeing them altogether.

Most, least and fewest

We can use most, least and fewest with noun phrases to create comparisons which are similar to the superlative forms of adjectives and adverbs. It is more common to use the before most, least and fewest, but we can also leave it out:

The points are added up, and the team with the most points wins.

Who got most votes in the election?

The room that has the least furniture would be best for dancing.

The class with the fewest students was always Miss Murray’s philosophy seminar.

Traditionally, we use least with singular uncountable nouns and fewest with plural countable nouns. Nowadays, many people use least with plural countable nouns. Some people consider this to be incorrect, and prefer to use fewest:

Which horse eats the least food? That’s the one I’ll buy! (least + singular uncountable noun)

Of all the models we tested, the B226X had the fewest faults. (fewest + plural countable noun; traditional correct form)

Of the three cities, I’d say Limerick gets the least tourists. (least + plural countable noun; considered incorrect by some people)

(“Comparison: nouns ( more money, the most points )” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press.)
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