Difference Between Few and Less

Few vs Less

Few and Less are two words used in the English language that are often confused as words that give the same meaning. Actually they are two different words that should be used differently.

Few literally means ‘nothing’ when it comes to the number of an object or person as in the sentences

1. Few people understood what he spoke.

2. There are few books in the shelf.

In the first sentence the use of the word ‘few’ indicates that there was none who could understand what the person spoke. In other words the sentence means ‘No one understood what he spoke’. On the other hand the use of ‘few’ in the second sentence gives the idea that ‘there are no books at all in the shelf’. Hence it is interesting to know that the adjective ‘few’ gives a negative meaning of ‘nothingness’.

On the other hand the adjective ‘less’ indicates a small number of objects or people according to the context as in the sentences

1. There was less number of candidates who attended the interview.

2. The number of people who speak the dialect was less.

The use of the adjective ‘less’ indicates the number of candidates in the case of the first sentence and the number of people in the case of the second sentence. This is the main difference between the two words, namely, few and less.

Take a look at these sentences

1. Work more and talk less.

2. You should pay less than what he actually charges.

In both the sentences the word ‘less’ gives the sense of ‘small amount’. It is thus important to know that the word ‘less’ is used as an opposite to the word ‘more’. Sometimes ‘less’ is used as a replacement for the word ‘a few’.