Saturday, 14 January 2012

Tell Me, Is He Less Busy Than Before?

Introduction


This post deals with comparisons in general and more specifically with comparisons of inferiority in which the subject of comparison is and adjective or adverb.




SCENARIO


Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. You come to talk about how busy some of your common friends/ acquaintances are. Mentioning the name of a common male friend, the other person says:: "tell me, is he less busy than before?"

In Spanish, the other person could choose to be less formal and say:
Dime, ¿está menos ocupado que antes?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say:
Dígame, ¿está menos ocupado que antes?



OUR TIP

You don't need be concerned about the degree of formality in what the other person says to you. Whether the other person uses a more/ less formal register is irrelevant to most choices of reply.

Perhaps what you want to consider are two basic options. i.e.:
  • Your male friend is less busy than before
  • Your male friend is not less busy than before

Here are a couple of examples which deal with those choices:
  • Sí, está menos ocupado que antes* (yes, he is less busy than before)
  • No, no está menos ocupado que antes* (no, he is not less busy than before)

Now you should practice answering the question:
Dime, ¿está menos ocupado que antes?

*Please see grammar topic below, comparisons

Grammar – Comparisons
Basic types of comparison to consider are:
  • Comparisons of superiority, typically: more beautiful than...
  • Comparisons of inferiority, typically: less beautiful than...
  • Comparisons of equality, typically:
    • as beautiful as...
    • as much money as...
    • as many people as...

Comparisons - Inferiority
This post deals comparisons of inferiority in which the subject of comparison is an adjective or adverb -see item 1 below. Other types of comparisons will be dealt with in separate posts.

When making comparisons of inferiority, there are three situations to consider:

1.- Inferior Characteristics Comparisons
In this type of comparison the subject of comparison is an adjective or adverb, e.g.:
  • less happy than... In Spanish: menos feliz que...
  • worse than... In Spanish: peor que...

Some examples of this type of comparisons are:
  • Soy menos feliz que antes (I am less happy than before)
  • Pedro está menos moreno que Antonio (Pedro is less suntanned than Antonio)
  • Hoy andamos menos deprisa que ayer (we are running around less frantically than yesterday)
  • Mis amigos son menos divertidos que los tuyos (my friends are less fun than yours)
  • Este vino es peor que el otro (this wine is worse than the other one)


2.- Lesser Unspecific Quantities Comparisons
In this is a type of comparisons the subjects of comparison are unspecific quantities/ numbers of things or people (nouns), e.g.:
  • less money than... In Spanish: menos dinero que...

Some examples of this type of comparisons are:
  • Mi hermano tiene menos dinero que (my brother has less money than you)
  • Hoy hemos comprado menos comida que ayer (today we have bought less food than yesterday)
  • Antonio tiene menos amigos que (Antonio has less male friends than you)
  • Tú tienes menos amigos que Antonio (you have less male friends than Antonio)


3.- Lower Specific Numbers Comparisons
In this is a type of comparisons the subjects of comparison are specific quantities or amounts of things (nouns) e.g.:
  • less than ten years... In Spanish: menos de diez años...
  • fewer than ten men... In Spanish: menos de diez hombres...


Some examples of this type of comparisons are:
  • Yo llevaba menos de £30 en el bolsillo (I had/ was carrying less than £30 in my pocket)
  • Antonio tiene menos de treinta años (Antonio is less than thirty years old)
  • Os quedan menos de dos días de vacaciones (you people-plural have less than two days left on your holidays)
  • A Luis y Ana les queda menos de media hora de viaje (Luis and Ana have less than half an hour's travel remaining)


Notes






Now you should practise the use of comparisons of inferiority with some examples of your own.

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