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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 :)

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    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 Yang Jun 15 '16 at 2:06
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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".

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“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。

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  • 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
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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).

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  • Could you provide the whole sentence, that's where I'm having trouble. – pixelearth Jun 12 '16 at 6:20
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    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
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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."

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  • The question is not about how to address different types of people. It is about a specific grammar point. In addition your answers don't provide the "comparative" use of less that I'm looking for. You're saying don't put "too much" sugar. That's not what I'm trying to say. I'm trying to say "less than" which implies a comparison like 比 – pixelearth May 1 at 2:00
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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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Depending on regions and context the level of formality may vary. And in my opinion, the word order varies according to personal logic. For instance, the positions of "less honey" and "than yesterday" may be swapped.

You can say

[麻煩/請][你/您]幫我少放些蜂蜜,相較昨日而言。

(you can choose to drop the words inside the square brackets or pick any combination of them; the right word is more formal than the left one)

But this sentence seems too long and not usual, especially the second subsentence. Instead of making the comparison to yesterday, you can make the comparison to your past habit by emphasizes "today" (and it's more natural since you're not asking the discussant to remember the amounts of honey put yesterday) :

今天[麻煩/請][你/您]幫我少放些蜂蜜。

Finally, since the word「幫」more or less show your gratefulness towards the action you require your interlocutor doing, it's enough to say

今天幫我少放些蜜。

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