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Using より and の方 in comparisons

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Using より and の方 in comparisons

Postby StarryNeko » Fri 07.01.2011 11:24 pm

Hi,
This is my first post here and I have a question that has been confusing me. Currently, I'm using the Genki I book.
They list the comparison structure as A の方がBより(property).
However, in some cases the の方が or より seems to be omitted.
Can someone explain this?

Looking on page 197, they state that you can combine a comparison sentence with なる.
The sentence is メアリーさんは前より日本語が上手になりました.
Where is の方が? And is 上手になりました the "property"?
If you can breakdown the syntax, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!!
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Re: Using より and の方 in comparisons

Postby micahcowan » Sat 07.02.2011 3:36 am

StarryNeko wrote:Hi,
This is my first post here and I have a question that has been confusing me. Currently, I'm using the Genki I book.
They list the comparison structure as A の方がBより(property).
However, in some cases the の方が or より seems to be omitted.
Can someone explain this?


の方 isn't strictly necessary. より probably is, for contrasts (though it could be replaced by something with an equivalent meaning, such as に対して). Aの方がBよりC just means something like "the alternative A is more C than B" (except that の方 is much less awkward-sounding in Japanese than "the alternative A" is in English); if you leave out the "alternative" part, the meaning doesn't change appreciably.

The key is really, that it's just より that makes the whole thing a comparison. It marks the thing you're comparing something else to, and that makes the rest of the sentence a comparison. So:

Looking on page 197, they state that you can combine a comparison sentence with なる.
The sentence is メアリーさんは前より日本語が上手になりました.


前より marks the sentence as being a comparison against "before". Without 前より、 the sentence メアリーさんは日本語が上手になりました means "Mary has become skilled in Japanese." Now with the 前より added, it changes to "Mary has become more skilled in Japanese than before."

Note that the more that was inserted isn't something very familiar to Japanese, which is why Japanese people will sometimes write things like "Mary has become skilled in Japanese than before" (no more). They don't need an added more in their language, because they already made it clear that it's a comparison, with the than (より).

(Of course I don't mean that Japanese doesn't have a word for more, or that it shouldn't be used with より, just that it isn't necessary to sentences with より.)
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Re: Using より and の方 in comparisons

Postby StarryNeko » Sat 07.02.2011 11:42 am

I get it now! Thanks, your post was really helpful.
Hopefully, the rest of the Genki book will be a snap.
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Posts: 8
Joined: Fri 07.01.2011 11:14 pm
Native language: English


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