Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What is the right way to convey the meaning that I want to say?

Your job is worse than mine, so I am not going to quit my job.

Is there a better choice to say this? Should I use less better than instead?

share|improve this question
2  
'less better' is not unlike a litotes. 'worse' is better than 'less better' –  Mitch May 6 '13 at 1:54
2  
But I don't think less better is worse; it's quite novel. And it smacks of political spin control. –  John Lawler May 6 '13 at 3:27
    
@JohnLawler Awfully magnanimous of you to accept "less better" as having any validity at all. Do you really think it's grammatically reasonable? –  John M. Landsberg May 6 '13 at 5:40
1  
It's a nonce expression, and they don't need to obey all the rules. It doesn't bear strict analysis of course: '80% is better than 40% (of something desirable); 65% is less better.' Sounds ridiculous; we'd rephrase. –  Edwin Ashworth May 6 '13 at 8:56
    
How about, more ungood. –  Mr Lister May 6 '13 at 19:03

3 Answers 3

Your alternatives might probably be worse than and not as good as. I know what you mean by less better than, but sadly, that's not a proper phrase.

Worse than puts your job a rank below my job, while it puts my job itself into the bad class.

Not as good as also places your job a rank below my job. However, in this case it places my job in the good class.

share|improve this answer
    
I do agree, but I think "worse" is fairly commonly used when making a comparison to something good. –  John M. Landsberg May 6 '13 at 6:45
1  
@John M. Landsberg _ not when (a) they're both pretty good; (b) you don't want to sound disparaging. –  Edwin Ashworth May 6 '13 at 8:58
    
@EdwinAshworth I concede the point. –  John M. Landsberg May 6 '13 at 9:02
    
According to me, the better choice is - Your job is not as good as mine, so I am not going to quit my job. –  Narendra DroidWorm May 6 '13 at 18:55

In my opinion, the only possible meaning of "less better" would be "better by a smaller margin." In other words, if X is a lot better than Z, and Y is just a little bit better than Z, then Y would be "less better" than X.

This is a construction for which I find little use.

Furthermore, note that "less better" does not mean "not as good." In my example, both X and Y are better than Z, albeit to different degrees. Neither one is worse. Therefore "less better" cannot be a synonym of "worse."

Simple answer: Do not use "less better" at all.

share|improve this answer
    
@Kris Sorry, Kris, I guess my brain is indeed shorting out, because I just don't get what you mean here. Did I write something terribly wrong? –  John M. Landsberg May 6 '13 at 6:15
    
Not at all. 21 minutes ago, we posted near identical answers. –  Kris May 6 '13 at 6:16
    
@Kris Ah, okay, I see. Mine must have popped in as you were writing, so that neither of us saw the other before posting. But I'm glad to be in sync with you. :) –  John M. Landsberg May 6 '13 at 6:39

The phrase "less better" would never be appropriate in this context. "Better" is a comparative. At least in my opinion, anything which is "less better" needs to be "less better" than something. For example, if you were comparing Person A's job and Person B's job, to Person C's job, then you could write "A's job is less better than B's job [compared to C's job]."

In this case, you could use "less good," but that's an unusual formation. "Worse" however, is a much more common formation, and I would recommend it.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.