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25. Comparative and superlative patterns 2


1 Less and least

Less and least are the opposites of more and most. We use less and least with both long and short words.
A bus is less expensive than a taxi.
(= A bus is cheaper than a taxi./ A bus isn't as expensive as a taxi.)
I feel better today, less tired.
I'm the least musical person in the world, I'm afraid.
We go out less often these days.
You should do less work. You do too much.

2 Much faster

We can put a word or phrase (e.g. much, far, a bit) before a comparative
to say how much faster, cheaper, etc. something is. Look at these examples.
It's much faster by tube.
A bus is far cheaper than a taxi.
This bed is a bit more comfortable.
Business is rather better this year.
I got up a little later than usual.
This month's figures are slightly less good.
I'll need a lot more water.
A computer will do it much more efficiently.
Before a comparative we can use much, a lot, far; rather; slightly, a bit, a little.

We can also use no and any. No has a negative meaning.
Your second throw at the basket was no nearer than your first.
We can use any in negatives and questions and with if.
Your second throw wasn't any nearer than your first.
Are you sleeping any better since you've been taking the pills?
If we leave any later than seven, we'll get caught in the rush hour.

3 Faster and faster

We use expressions like faster and faster and more and more expensive to say that something is increasing all the time.
The caravan was rolling faster and faster down the hill.
The queue was getting longer and longer.
Prices go up and up. Everything gets more and more expensive.
The crowd are becoming more and more excited.
The country is rapidly losing its workers, as more and more people are emigrating.
The form depends on whether the comparative is with -er (e.g. louder) or with more (e.g. more expensive).

We can also use less and less for something decreasing.
As each new problem arose, we felt less and less enthusiastic.

4 The faster, the better

We use this pattern to say that a change in one thing goes with a change in another. Look at these examples.
There's no time to lose. The faster you drive, the better.
The higher the price, the more reliable the product.
The more the customer complained, the ruder and more unpleasant the manager became.
The sooner we leave, the sooner we'll get there.
Are you looking for a cheap holiday? - Yes, the cheaper the better.

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