Examples of Difficult & Confusing Adjectives

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  • 0:25 Much vs. Many
  • 1:02 Farther vs. Further
  • 1:32 Fewer vs. Less
  • 1:51 Each vs. Every
  • 2:28 Last vs. Latest
  • 2:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Damon Barta

Damon has taught college English and has an MA in literature.

This lesson will identify some of the most difficult and confusing pairs of adjectives in English, explain the correct usages, and provide examples in context.

Confusing Adjectives

English grammar and vocabulary can be difficult and result in a variety of mistakes. Some of the most common mistakes involve adjectives, or words that describe and modify nouns. These often involve pairs of words that are mistaken for each other. Let's take a look at some pairs of the trickiest adjectives in the English language.

Much vs. Many

Consider the sentence, It can present much difficulty and cause many mistakes to be made. The adjectives ''much'' and ''many'' are used correctly here, but why? The choice depends on the kind of noun you want to modify. Here, we have ''difficulty'' and ''mistakes.'' The key here is that 'difficulty' refers to one thing. Use much when referring to a lot of something that is singular (or collective), as in much happiness, much theft, and much water. Use many when the noun is plural, as in many colors, many people, and many perspectives.

Farther vs. Further

One of the biggest challenges with adjectives occurs when they're used as adverbs, which is the case with farther and further. Adverbs modify verbs rather than nouns, as in She threw the ball farther than him and He needs to think further about it. When used as adjectives, however, there's a simple rule. Farther always refers to distance, while further means to a greater degree or more. For example, He lives on the farther side of town and He needs further details.

Less vs. Fewer

You'll make fewer errors and have less difficulty with this next pair of words if you remember this: Use fewer for countable individual nouns (such as ''cans,'' ''colors,'' and ''hairstyles'') and less for non-countable or collective nouns (such as ''pains,'' ''static,'' and ''water'').

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