Less vs Should - What's the difference?

less | should |

As verbs the difference between less and should

is that less is (obsolete) to make less; to lessen while should is (auxiliary).

As an adverb less

is to smaller extent.

As an adjective less

is .

As a preposition less

is minus; not including.

As a conjunction less

is (obsolete) unless.

As a noun should is

a statement of what should be the case as opposed to what is the case.




  • To smaller extent.
  • * {{quote-magazine, year=2013, month=May-June, author= Katrina G. Claw
  • , title= Rapid Evolution in Eggs and Sperm , volume=101, issue=3, magazine=(American Scientist) , passage=In plants, the ability to recognize self from nonself plays an important role in fertilization, because self-fertilization will result in less diverse offspring than fertilization with pollen from another individual.}}
  • In lower degree.
  • *
  • , title=(The Celebrity), chapter=8 , passage=I corralled the judge, and we started off across the fields, in no very mild state of fear of that gentleman's wife, whose vigilance was seldom relaxed. And thus we came by a circuitous route to Mohair, the judge occupied by his own guilty thoughts, and I by others not less disturbing.}}
  • * {{quote-news, year=2012, date=November 7, author=Matt Bai, title=Winning a Second Term, Obama Will Confront Familiar Headwinds, work=New York Times citation
  • , passage=That brief moment after the election four years ago, when many Americans thought Mr. Obama’s election would presage a new, less fractious political era, now seems very much a thing of the past. }}


    * more


  • * 1624 , John Smith, Generall Historie , in Kupperman 1988, p. 141:
  • Those Rattels are somewhat like the chape of a Rapier, but lesse [...].
  • A smaller amount (of); not as much.
  • * {{quote-magazine, year=2013, month=May-June, author= William E. Conner
  • , title= An Acoustic Arms Race , volume=101, issue=3, page=206-7, magazine=(American Scientist) , passage=Earless ghost swift moths become “invisible” to echolocating bats by forming mating clusters close (less than half a meter) above vegetation and effectively blending into the clutter of echoes that the bat receives from the leaves and stems around them.}}
  • (proscribed) A smaller number of; fewer.
  • * 1952 , Thomas M Pryor, New York Times , 7 Sep 1952:
  • This is not a happy situation as far as the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes is concerned because it means less jobs for the union's members here at home.
  • * 1999 , (George RR Martin), A Clash of Kings , Bantam 2011, p. 555:
  • No less than four standard-bearers went before them, carrying huge crimson banners emblazoned with the golden lion.
  • * 2003 , Timandra Harkness, The Guardian , 16 Dec 2003:
  • Although my hosts, G S Aviation, can teach you to fly in Wiltshire, an intensive week at their French airfield means less problems with the weather, cheap but good living, and complete removal from any distractions.

    Usage notes


    * more

    See also

    * fewer


    (English prepositions)
  • Minus; not including
  • It should then tax all of that as personal income, less the proportion of the car's annual mileage demonstrably clocked up on company business.


    * plus


  • (obsolete) To make less; to lessen.
  • (Gower)

    Derived terms

    * less is more * more or less * nevertheless


    (English Conjunctions)
  • (obsolete) unless
  • (Ben Jonson)



    Alternative forms

    * (obsolete)


  • (auxiliary)
  • If I should be late, go without me.
    Should you need extra blankets, you will find them in the closet.
  • * 1922 , (Margery Williams), (The Velveteen Rabbit)
  • It was a long weary time, for the Boy was too ill to play, and the little Rabbit found it rather dull with nothing to do all day long. But he snuggled down patiently, and looked forward to the time when the Boy should be well again, and they would go out in the garden amongst the flowers and the butterflies and play splendid games in the raspberry thicket like they used to.
  • (auxiliary) Be obliged to; have an obligation to; ought to;
  • You should brush your teeth every day.
    What do I think? What should I think?
  • * {{quote-news
  • , date = 21 August 2012 , first = Ed , last = Pilkington , title = Death penalty on trial: should Reggie Clemons live or die? , newspaper = The Guardian , url = http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/21/death-penalty-trial-reggie-clemons?newsfeed=true , page = , passage = Next month, Clemons will be brought before a court presided over by a "special master", who will review the case one last time. The hearing will be unprecedented in its remit, but at its core will be a simple issue: should Reggie Clemons live or die? }}
  • * '>citation
  • (auxiliary) Will likely (become or do something);
  • You should be warm enough with that coat.
  • (modern) A variant of would.
  • * 1817 , Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey?
  • I should like to dine with him. I dare say he gives famous dinners.
  • * 1900 , , (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)
  • "If our friends, the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, were only with us," said the Lion, "I should be quite happy."
  • * 1900 , L. Frank Baum , The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Chapter 23
  • "Your Silver Shoes will carry you over the desert," replied Glinda. "If you had known their power you could have gone back to your Aunt Em the very first day you came to this country." "But then I should not have had my wonderful brains!" cried the Scarecrow. "I might have passed my whole life in the farmer's cornfield."

    Usage notes

    * Should'' has, as its most common meaning in modern English, the sense ''ought'' as in ''I should go, but I don't see how I can''. However, the older sense as the subjunctive of the future indicative auxiliary, ''shall'', is often used with ''I'' or ''we'' to indicate a more polite form than ''would'': ''I should like to go, but I can't''. In much speech and writing, ''should'' has been replaced by ''would'' In contexts of this kind, but it remains in conditional subjunctives: ''should'' (never ''would'') ''I go, I should wear my new dress . * (obligation) Contrast with stronger auxiliary verb (must), which indicates that the subject is required to execute the predicate. * (likely) Contrast with stronger auxiliary verb (must), which indicates that the subject certainly will execute the predicate. * See the usage notes at (shall).


    * (obligation) ought


    * (obligation) shouldn't


    (en noun)
  • A statement of what should be the case as opposed to what is the case.
  • * {{quote-book, year=2003, title=Overcoming Resistance in Cognitive Therapy, author=Robert L. Leahy
  • , passage=However, we can address maladaptive shoulds by examining the differences between prior events, causes, proximate causes, and moral responsibility. citation

    See also

    * precatory * * (projectlink) * (projectlink) * (projectlink)