I have been editing documents like a maniac this past week because I took on more than I can chew in my head. All these documents are academic research papers, mostly in fields of science and engineering and sometimes in management. These documents are usually written by students who have not had basic English education and have learnt the language along the way. Many of these documents are very difficult to understand, and so, I have to spend a lot of time, trying to unravel complex, inappropriately worded sentences to understand the crux of the matter, and rewrite them without changing their meaning. Sometimes, I get documents to edit by English speaking people, who don’t know that they are sending their document to a non-English native speaker and get offended when I suggest corrections. Challenging job, I have.
But that is not what this post is about.
I notice that of late, many youngsters use the word “lesser” extensively, as a comparative term. Being old-school, I believe “lesser” to be archaic and to not be used unless you want to burn in hell. But as I said, I am archaic myself.
My question is this. Is “lesser” used in English speaking nations as a comparative term these days? For example, is “the value of A is lesser than that of B”, while making me want to gouge my eyes, accepted among native speakers now? I ask this because I recently edited a document by an American student (a true blue midwest white boy), who used it that way.
Would appreciate a reply from a native English speaker.