Reply to "less number / a less number of people"

Hi, Hussein,

I find none of those options to be correct. Actually, "few" (meaning "not many") and "little" (meaning "not much"), along with all their variants (a few, fewer, (the) fewest, a little, less, (the) least), modify the nouns the quantity of which is being specified, for example:

  • (a) few / fewer / the fewest people (countable)
  • (a) little / less / the least broth (uncountable)


For the noun "number" (same thing with quantity, degree, extent, amount) we use the adjectives "large" and "small," or "high" and "low" (depending on the noun). We don't quantify the number, but specify its size, hence the use of those adjectives. Therefore, you could say, in correct English, any of the following:

  • You should have hired just a few people because too many cooks spoil the broth.
  • You should have hired fewer people because too many cooks spoil the broth.
  • You should have hired a small/low number of people because too many cooks spoil the broth.
  • You should have hired a smaller/lower number of people because too many cooks spoil the broth.
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