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Making Comparisons Posted by on Apr 11, 2010 in Grammar

Take a look at this comparison :

(1) このけいたいのほうがそのけいたいより安いです = This cell phone is cheaper than that cell phone

(この = this. けいたい = cell phone. のほうが = more. その = that. けいたい = cell phone. より = than. やすい/安い = cheap.です = is)

Here, the grammatical pattern was : noun1 + のほうが + noun2 + より + adjective

Now take a look at this sentence :

(2) そのけいたいよりこのけたいのほうが安いです = This cell phone is cheaper than that cell phone

As you can see, both sentences mean but same, but have different constructions. In this sentence, より and のほうが has been switched in the sentence. From this example you can conclude that it doesn’t matter which noun comes first or second in the sentence, it’s the noun in which より or のほうが is attached to, that matters. Since “this cell phone” precedes のほうが, it means that “this cell phone” will have the cheaper attribute. Therefore, it’s also okay to have the grammatical pattern : noun1 + より + noun2 + のほうが + adjective. Just make sure that the attribute that you want expressed as taller, faster, smarter, better, etc. is placed right before のほうが.

Now compare these two sentences :

(1) バスより新幹線のほうが速いです = The bullet train is faster than the bus

(バス = bus. より = than. しんかんせん/新幹線 = bullet train. のほうが = more. はやい/速い = fast. です = is)

So now take a look at this sentence :

(2) 新幹線はバスより速いです = The bullet train is faster than the bus.

The second sentence doesn’t contain the word のほうが. With the first sentence, the addition of のほうが implies that the listener thinks that the bullet train is faster than the bus. However, the second sentence implies that the bullet train is really faster than the bus. The second sentence implies that this is a fact, not just an opinion.

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Comments:

  1. Jacki:

    Wonderful! My professor was just going over this exact comparison last week, but the way she was describing things made the class confused. I didn’t realize that there was a slight meaning difference when using のほうが versus just using より.

    Many thanks!