For example in Taiwan I want to ask the people making my latte to put less honey in. So how would I translate:

Today, please put in less honey than yesterday.

My bad translation attempt (added afterwards)

你們今天比昨天請用蜂蜜得少

I know that's bad, please don't laugh! Help me :)

  • 2
    Well if the most native way is difficult to remember, even the literal translation is quite good: 今天(today) 請(please) 比昨天(than yesterday) 放(put) 少點(less) 蜂蜜(honey). Clear enough for every Mandarin even Cantonese speaker. For expressions 走甜/走糖, I'm sure many Mandarin only speakers cannot understand. – Stan Jun 12 '16 at 12:01
  • for "less sugar" jukuu supplies 14 example sentences, 6 of which contain "less sugar" w/o anything in between,e.g. 2. A little less sugar, please. 请给我少来一点糖。 If this is not enough try "less salt", etc.->3. There 's much less salt in this box than that in that one . 这个箱子里的盐比那箱子里的盐少得多。 – user6065 Jun 12 '16 at 18:07
  • @pixelearth 请把蜂蜜放得比昨天少点。 – Daniel Yeung Jun 15 '16 at 2:06

“请比昨天少放些蜂蜜” for equality translation, but it's a bit of writing style.

For more clear way:

昨天的太甜,这次请少放点蜂蜜。

  • It is still modifying the verb. I would rather say, in this kind of cases Chinese people don't tend to modify the noun... – bfrguci Jun 30 '16 at 16:44

For example, you can have:

  • 少甜 = less sweet
  • 少糖 = less sugar
  • 走甜 = no sweet
  • 走糖 = no sugar

The scale is not absolute, I guess that most shop would understand what you want:

  • 無糖 - no sugar
  • 微糖 - 25% sugar
  • 半糖 - half sugar
  • 少糖 - 75% sugar
  • 全糖 - full sugar

A normal drink, without any mention of sweetness, would be full sugar. So in a full sentence, you may say:

請給我一杯拿鐵。少糖。謝謝

Roughly: please give me (請給我) a latte (一杯拿鐵), less sugar (少糖), thanks (謝謝).

  • Could you provide the whole sentence, that's where I'm having trouble. – pixelearth Jun 12 '16 at 6:20
  • 3
    Sounds like Hong Kong only. – Stan Jun 12 '16 at 6:21
  • This this is just asking for a little bit of sugar. I'm trying to say I want "less than" they gave me yesterday. – pixelearth Jun 12 '16 at 8:27
  • if you just tell them to add less sugar than yesterday, it's confusing; cause they don't know what did you get beforehand. so, a straightforward saying when ordering, is to mention the amount of sweetness you wanted each time, not a comparative, vague idea of what you got before. – 水巷孑蠻 Jun 12 '16 at 8:41
  • Though I do appreciate your help, the question is a grammar question, not a question about what communication is most appropriate for a specific situation. If I can't say "Please V less N than yesterday" in Mandarin, that's fine I guess. If I can, then that's really what I want to know. E.g. 'Please drink less water than yesterday', 'Pease buy less rice than yesterday'... – pixelearth Jun 12 '16 at 9:08

I would say, "麻煩幫我放比昨天少一點的糖/蜂蜜" Less sugar than yesterday, please!I believe it's way formal to use "請".

Use the word: "少". It means less.

Example: "You should smoke less." "你应该少抽烟。"

  • My sense is that your example refers to using "less" in the context of a verb, which is not what the OP is looking for. If you believe that the same rule also applies for nouns, you should state so and possibly give some examples. – user5714 Jul 2 '16 at 1:40

When you talk, you don't talk like a machine. So if that person whom you are asking is a woman (16-80 years old), you say: 宝贝,不用那么甜啦。 If that is a man and older than you, you say: 哥哥,人家不要那么甜啦。If younger than you, you said:弟弟,我不要那么甜哦。

and I highly doubted that you will talk like this to someone in Starbucks: "Today, please put in less honey than yesterday."

If not so formal, make it short and simple in Simplified Chinese: 今天请少加点蜂蜜,谢谢!

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