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I want to indicate that one approach to solve a problem is less preferred than another approach.

How to phrase it correctly?

Is it grammatically correct to state it this way?

Modeling x and y is a less preferred approach.

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What about "is a disfavored approach"? – Rosey28 Feb 9 '11 at 9:08
up vote 2 down vote accepted

It is grammatically correct. I would say "X is a less preferable approach than Y", but "X is a less preferred approach than Y" is valid, too. The former indicates that the preference is based on objective standards, while the latter implies that there is a specific person or group that actually does the preferring.

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I would actually write it as "...a less-preferred approach." – Marthaª Nov 2 '10 at 19:17
@Martha: It's not necessary to hyphenate adverbs, and I'd go so far as to say it looks awkward to do so. – Jon Purdy Nov 3 '10 at 4:30
'approach' being a noun, surely "less preferred" is functioning as an adjective here, no? – Marthaª Nov 3 '10 at 14:03
@Martha: As I understand it, "less preferred" is indeed functioning as an adjective, but "less", being an adverb, binds to the adjective "preferred" rather than to the noun phrase "preferred approach", so a hyphen is superfluous. Generally speaking, a hyphen need only be used when the precedence is otherwise ambiguous ("pink tinted glasses" versus "pink-tinted glasses"), or if the adjective phrase involved is multi-word ("four-year-old boy"). I don't know that many editors would disagree with you, though, and perhaps it's better to err on the side of being explicit. – Jon Purdy Nov 3 '10 at 20:08
@Jon Purdy: ah, ok, I get you now. I do agree that the hyphen in this case is optional. – Marthaª Nov 3 '10 at 20:27

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