Hi, everyone. What’s up?
Nesse episódio do podcast Inglês Online eu falo sobre duas expressões bem comuns com a palavra LESS.
Hello, all. How’s it going? Today we have a new episode of the inglesonline podcast. To download or just listen to other episodes and download transcripts, go to inglesonline.com.br and click Podcast Inglesonline.
Let me tell you about a very common and interesting expression in English: the lesser of two evils. Think about a situation where you had to choose between two not-so-great options. You have to make a choice in order to keep something going, or to fulfill an obligation. An election is a perfect example, when there are only two candidates running and you don’t like either of them.
Let’s say, though, that you firmly believe that, even if neither candidate is that great, you should pick someone. You should vote for one of them, that’s what you believe. You feel like it’s your duty to vote, and you’re not gonna spoil your vote either, so you MUST pick someone to vote for. The problem is, you’re not a fan of either candidate. You’ve heard bad things from trusted sources about both of them. So who are you gonna vote for? Candidate A is the one you were going for, until last week when your good friend Raymond filled you in on Candidate A’s real opinions about public transportation.
You were devastated. You’d been a big fan of Candidate A until that moment. And then there’s Candidate B, and you’re really not a fan. You just don’t think Candidate B has got what it takes to be an effective politician. You’re familiar with his work and you just don’t think he’s competent. So this is a tough choice for you. Since you’re adamant about voting for someone, you are going to choose the lesser of two evils, in your opinion. Both are bad, but you’re gonna go with the least bad, or the lesser of two evils. You’re gonna go with the one that, in your opinion, is going to cause the least damage as a politician. You’re gonna pick the lesser of two evils.
Here’s another example for that: your friends are going to watch a movie tonight and they’re asking you to come along. You’ve heard of this movie, and you think it’s gonna suck. Your other option would be staying home and watching boring TV shows. What to do? You choose the lesser of two evils, which in your opinion is staying in tonight and watching TV.
Here’s another set phrase with the word less: less is more. Less is more. Have you heard that one? How can less be more? Well, imagine that you’re in school and your History teachers gives the students a new assignment. She says you guys should break into groups of six and work as a team on the assignment. Your team spends two weeks working on the assignment and you realize that it’s not that easy to coordinate everyone’s work, or get everyone to agree on something, or find a date for the next meeting that will work for everyone, and so on.
So now your History teacher is giving the class a new assignment, and she tells the students that they should break into groups of three. So you and your two classmates start working on the new assignment and you realize it is much easier to get things going in a small group. The three of you agree on stuff quickly, it’s easier to find a place and time for the next meeting, and so on and so forth. So you come to the conclusion that, in this case, less is more.
“Less is more” means, there are advantages in not having too much or too many of something. It would seem that more people to help with an assignment is always better, right? Well, you don’t think so. Fewer people do a better job in your opinion. So, you think “I’m definitely happier in a smaller group. Less is more”.
And just a reminder that this is a set phrase, OK? It doesn’t really matter what you’re talking about. What matters is the idea that less of something, or fewer units of whatever… produce better results. So whether you’re talking about fewer people doing a better job, or a small computer being more powerful than a large machine, or a tiny fruit containing more nutrients than a larger fruit, you can say that, in this case, less is more.
So when was the last time you chose the lesser of two evils? Let us know in the comments. Talk to you next time!
spoil your vote = anular seu voto
you’re adamant about = você faz questão de, tem opinião firme a respeito de
the least bad = a/o menos ruim
the least damage = o mínimo de estrago
What to do? = O que fazer?
not a fan of either = não é fã de nenhum dos dois
fewer units of whatever = menos unidades do que quer que seja
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