Use of low, less, short, lower, lesser, shorter


i have problem in using of these words sometime i use low in plsce of less.

woul you plz clarify when these words (low/less/short) similarly (lesser/lower/shorter) are supposed to be used.


Hi rizma

You have asked an very general question. There are lots of ways to use these words. It would be helpful if you posted some specific sentences where you get the words mixed up.

For now, I’ve listed some examples of possible “partners” for these words.

low --> basically means the opposite of “high”
a low bridge
a low salary
a low water level
low music (= the music is not loud)
a low temperature
a low price

short --> often means the opposite of “long”
a short period of time
a short movie
a short letter
a short visit
a short person --> (not tall )
in short suppy --> (This is a fixed expression)

less (comparative !!!) --> not as much as
less time (than)
less happy (than)
less important (than)
less quickly (than)

lesser => means about the same thing as less (BOTH are comparative), but “lesser” isn’t used as often. I would describe its usage as “more specialized”. You would mainly find “lesser” in the expressions “the lesser of two evils” or “the lesser of the two” or “lesser known”. In what context have you seen this word?
If I were you, I’d work on understanding the word less first, and then worry about lesser later.

lower (comparative) --> often the opposite of higher
a lower bridge (than)
a lower salary (than)
a lower water level (than)
a lower temperature (than)
a lower price (than)

shorter (comparative) --> often the opposite of longer
a shorter period of time (than)
a shorter movie (than)
a shorter letter (than)
in shorter supply (than) --> “in short suppy” is a fixed expression
a shorter person (than) --> (not as tall as)


Hi again

A few more comments:

You’ll notice that in my examples, the word less was used in combination with nouns, adjectives and adverbs. The words short(er) and low(er) were used only with nouns.

That should be one good general guideline for using the words. But please keep in mind, I’ve only given very basic examples. If you want more specific feedback, then we need more specific input from you.

A non-comparative form of less would be “little” and this word would be used for uncountable nouns. For countable nouns, you would need few and fewer.