Comparisons with 比
In Chinese, these sentences are called "比"字句. They are often used in spoken language.
How to form a comparison with 比
Use the construction with to compare different people and things or to describe the changes in different situations:
Pay attention
"A" is always superior in something than "B": bigger, taller, prettier.
My brother is taller than me
gēge bǐ wǒ gāo
I'm taller than my brother
wǒ bǐ gēge gāo
China is bigger than USA
zhōngguó bǐ měiguó dà
Use the quantity complement to specify the difference between "A" and "B" ↓
How to make the pattern with 比 shorter
When "A" and "B" have common words, "B" is usually shortened. Let's look at the following examples:
My grades are better than yours
wǒ de chéngjī bǐ nǐ de hǎo
Pay attention
Here "A" is 我的成绩 and "B" is 你的成绩. The word 成绩 is repeated, so we do not mention it in the second part of the sentence.
This book is more interesting than that one
zhè běn shū bǐ nà běn yǒuyìsi
Pay attention
Here "A" is 这本书 and ""B is 那本书. The word 书 is repeated, so we do not mention it in the second part of the sentence.
If the things that are being compared have already been mentioned before, the nouns in both "A" and "B" can be omitted. For example:
—— 你想买哪件裙子
Which dress would you like to buy?
nǐ xiǎng mǎi nǎ jiàn qúnzi
—— 红色的黑色的合适我,买红色的吧
The red one suits me better than the black one, so I'll get the red one
hóngsè de bǐ hēisè de héshì wǒ, mǎi hóngsè de ba
Pay attention
Here "A" is 红色的裙子 and "B" is 黑色的裙子. It has already been mentioned before that it is about dresses (裙子), so there is no need to mention this word again.
The shortened version also includes the particle or a measure word.
Using verbs in structure with 比
Some verbs can also be used in the construction instead of adjectives. Verbs that denote the following: 1) feelings and emotions:
2) skills and interest:
3) adding, raising or lowering:
Dad likes to play football more than me
bàba bǐ wǒ xǐhuan tī zúqiú
You're a better cook than me
nǐ bǐ wǒ huì zuò cài
The average salary has increased since last year
píngjūn gōngzī bǐ qùnián zēngjiā le
The verb cannot be used in the construction with 比. The exceptions are adjectives beginning with 有: , , can be used. Sentences stating "someone has more/less of something" are translated with the words or . In this case, 多 and 少 are the predicates.
I have more candy than you
wǒ de tángguǒ bǐ nǐ de duō
Using adverbs in the structure with 比
If you want to express "B" has a high degree in a certain aspect, but "A" is much higher than "B" in that aspect, you can add or before the predicate.
Pay attention
Degree adverbs cannot be used in such sentences. For example, or .
and are slightly different in usage. 1) 更 expresses an objective assessment (a fact), while 还 expresses a subjective assessment (an opinion). 2) Modal verbs can be used after 更, e.g. , , . They cannot be used after 还. 3) 还 is used when an adjective or verb is followed by a numeral.
I like painting more than you
wǒ bǐ nǐ gèng xǐhuan huà huàr
You're 2 kilos heavier than me
nǐ bǐ wǒ hái pàng sì jīn
As well as expressing that two things differ, you can indicate that they differ a lot by adding , , or after the adjective.
Chinese is much harder to learn than English
hànyǔ bǐ yīngyǔ nán duō le
or is added after an adjective to emphasize a slight difference.
We finished the lesson a little earlier today compared to yesterday
wǒmen jīntiān xiàkè bǐ zuótiān zǎo yìdiǎnr
Adverbs like and are placed before 比.
My younger brother is also taller than me
dìdi yě bǐ wǒ gāo
Everyone is taller than me
dàjiā dōu bǐ wǒ gāo
Structures with 比 as the state complement
Comparative structures can serve as the state complement. Read more about this topic here ↓
The negative form
In a negative sentence, the negative adverb is placed before 比.
Pay attention
不 cannot be placed before a predicate.
My brother is not taller than me
gēge bù bǐ wǒ gāo
You're not smarter than me
nǐ bù bǐ wǒ cōngmíng
There are two possible meanings for these type of sentences: 1. "А" is the same as "В"; 2. "B" is superior to "A". The translation is as follows: "A" is no more [adjective] than "B". For example: no stronger, no thinner, no prettier. Let's consider the last example: 你不比我聪明. The meaning of this sentence can be understood as either "you are either as smart as me or stupider than me, but definitely not smarter than me" or "I am smarter than you".
is used instead of 不比 in spoken language when referring to the future.
I won't do as well on this exam as the last one
zhè cì kǎoshì wǒ bú huì bǐ shàng cì kǎo de hǎo
The negation in a comparative sentence can also be formed with . Read more about this topic here ↓
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