Please do NOT rephrase or rewrite the troubling sentences below.
✘ 1. Why is it wrong to write: too fewer than everyone ?
✓ 2. But it’s right to write: excessively fewer than everyone.
✘ 3. Why is it wrong to write: too less than everything ?
✓ 4. But it’s right to write: excessively less than everything.
5. Why are 1 and 3 wrong, but 2 and 4 are right?
6. By replacing ONLY the bolded, without rewriting anything else,
how can 1 and 3 be corrected? In other words, what can replace too?
Footnote: My thought of writing ‘too fewer than ‘everyone’ here, motivated the above.
Less and more are absolutes.
Four is less than five.
I’d like less guff out of you, understand? Go to your room and stay there.
More gruel, Sir!
The bare absolute admits no degree. Hence, *too less, *too more.
Fewer is an absolute as well. (Cardinality: the count is less).
There were fewer thanes in the hall after Grendel’s visit.
There are fewer, or there are more, or the count is equal.
Again, the bare absolute admits no degree. Hence, *too fewer.
P.S. Other absolutes: below, above, after, before, during.
P.P.S. too much less, too much more are a different kettle of fish. There too modifies ‘much’ not ‘less|more’.