General Writing and Grammar Help/Lesser


Dear Ted:

I don't know when to use "lesser."

Would you please give me some examples?

Thank you,


Dear Paolo:

Use "lesser" when you are comparing TWO things.  There can be ONLY two things involved in the comparison.

I chose the lesser of two evils.

He was the lesser known artist.

*** In both examples, "lesser" indicates the "least of what is compared."  "Lesser" indicates a smaller degree.  


   Not so great or important as the other or the rest: "he was convicted of a lesser charge".
   Lower in terms of rank or quality: "the lesser aristocracy".  

The islands of the Caribbean are divided into two groups:  the Lesser Antilles and the Greater Antilles.  The "Lesser" group contains small islands; the "Greater" group has the larger islands, such as Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico.


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Ted Nesbitt


I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.


I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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