What does "need I say less" mean?

what does “need I say less?” mean?



Do I need to say more?

Thank you Molly,

As I expected since the context where I found it and looked for suggest so, but I wanted to confirm my understanding as the construction is a bit strange.
Now your answer brought a good question that could explain why that structure is as it is:

You confirmed that:
need I say less? = Do I need to say more?

Since you could ask without “to do” verb (always?), then

need I say less? = need I say more?

but the result is a bit questioning.

Any help, please?


P.S. :arrow: with “need” as an auxiliary verb, one could make a question w/o “to do”

I think the "to do’ verb is not necessary because “need” works the same way that verbs like “can, could, might, should, etc”. I’m not sure but they seem to be called anomalous verbs. I don’t know when we must use them since they also can work as regular verbs. Maybe anyone who’s native speaker can explain that to us.

Thank you,
I have added what I meant as a P.S note.

Still there must be a reasoning to that arcane usage other than believing it as an idiom whose reasoning could be “it is read/used like this”.

The verb need can be used both as a full verb and as a modal auxiliary.

However, need is generally only used as a modal auxiliary in negative and interrogative sentences – i.e. it is generally not used as a modal in affirmative sentences.

That said, the expression “Need I say more” is so common that it can be classified as a fixed idiom.

To me, the use of “need I say less” suggests a play on words (i.e. an intentional alteration of the fixed idiom), and I’d say the author probably had a very definite reason for changing the word ‘more’ to the word ‘less’. Therefore, I’d say the author did not actually mean “need I say more” or even “do I need to say more” – otherwise, that’s what he or she would have said.

To better determine what exactly the author might have had in mind with ‘need I say less’, I would want to see the broader context.

Thank you Amy, very good exposition.

I think “need I say less?” is fairly common, though I am not a native speaker of English.

Please check the following link. I could have copied the interesting paragraph, but I think you may need the ‘paginal!’ context.

Since you said it might be a play on words, could you confirm that by sampling contexts from Google by searching for the quoted string “need i say less?”.

Or, if you are busy you may want to look over the following two links below:

1- this one sounds poetry

That’s the window to my soul,
But you may never fathom,
How I’m feeling,
'cos you never did ask.
Need I say less?
Need I cry more?

2- my dad…broke his phone…need i say less
au.answers.yahoo.com/question/in … 508AATASpA

Well, after a couple of Google queries and readings, I think I am lost so I retract my statement, "I think “need I say less?” is fairly common, "



OK, that is definitely a play on words. That part is making fun of the fact many companies/retailers add the words “and more!” or “and much more!” in their advertising, and how very meaningless this actually is. In other words, these companies want their customers to think that they have lots and lots to offer when in fact the company may actually have far less than they would like their customers to think they have.

This one strikes me as possibly being pretty literal. The author’s intended meaning could be “Should I say less (than I usually do when I talk to you)?” Of course, it is also a ‘poetic’ usage in this context.

I think the person who wrote this was also intentionally playing with the expression “Need I say more”, but nevertheless intended basically the same meaning.

“Need I say more?” is a common expression. The most obvious way to play with this idiom would be to use the word ‘less’ rather than ‘more’.

A search of the NY Times turned up 1 usage of ‘Need I say less’. A search of the BYU Corpus turned up none.

Thank you Amy that was a great job.