There are so many ways to compare things in Japanese- of course, they are all used differently and have specific rules to use them.

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How to compare things in Japanese

We have learned a lot of useful phrases throughout the year but we think this blog might be one of the most useful yet! Welcome to a Japanese lesson on どちらが、より and ほうが. Today we will be looking at the usages of all of these grammar points and also comparing the differences of all of them too. As you can see from our title above, these three main grammar points revolve around comparing things in Japanese. If you are a bit of a grammar nut, you are going to really love this lesson as we will be learning about how to properly utilise these three main points. If you feel like skipping ahead to a certain section, feel free to do so as we will add a quick summary at the end of this blog! We shall now get started and jump right into today’s Online Japanese Lesson from Bondlingo.

どちらが – “Which..?”/ “Which one..?”

This phrase is mainly used when you are comparing two things- usually asking the person you are speaking to to choose between the two. In this situation, we use either “dochira” or “docchi”, with the latter being an informal/casual way to say it. Please look below for the sentence patterns and sample sentences. 

(Noun 1) + と + (Noun 2) + とどちら が + (Adjective) +ですか?  

Ringo to orenji to dochira ga suki desu ka?
Which do you like better, apples or oranges?
Nihongo to Doitsugo to dochira ga muzukashii desu ka.
Which language is more difficult, Japanese or German?

Verb phrase 1 + と + Verb phrase 2 + (とどちら・どっち)が。。。ですか?

Supo-tsu wo suru no to, miru no to, dochira ga suki desu ka?
Which do you prefer, playing sports or watching it?
Tabemono o ryouri suru no to, taberu no to docchi ga suki?
Do you prefer cooking or eating food?

(Noun 1) + と + (Noun 2) + どっち が + (Adjective)?

Doraemon to Pikachu to, docchi ga suki?
Which do you like better, Doraemon or Pikachu?
Tomu to Ben to dochira ga se ga takai?
Who is taller, Tom or Ben?

Remember though, this can only be used when comparing two things as it directly translates to “which”! You will have to use a different phrase if you would like to compare three or more things. BONUS! In the case that you would like to compare more than 2 objects, you would have to use “どれ”. 

どれ – “…which of all” / “..which within this category..”

As mentioned earlier, “dore” is mainly used for comparing 3 or more objects. In this case, you would not really need to mention all objects you are comparing as you might be comparing all objects in one category-in this case, we would need to use “の中で” to signify “within this category” or “of all”. Please take a look below for a few sentence examples.

(Noun A) + と + (Noun B) + と + (Noun C) + の中で、どれが + (Adjective) + ですか? 

Sushi to tempura to ramen no naka de, dore ga ii desu ka?
Which is better, sushi, tempura, or ramen?

(Noun) + の中で、どれが + (Adjective) + (ですか)?

Anime no naka de, dore ga omoshiroi?
Of all anime, which is the most entertaining?

ほうが – “..than” / “…is more… than..” 

This is quite versatile as it can be used as a response to a question asking about a comparison between two or more things, or as a sentence indicating that one object possesses a characteristic greater than others. For this phrase, you would not need to mention all objects you are comparing from one another. Please look below for the sentence pattern used to create a sentence using “hou ga” and a few sentence examples for them as well. 

As an answer to a question

(Noun B or Noun A) + の ほう が + (Adjective) + です

A-san: 肉と魚とどちらが好きですか?
Niku to sakana to dochira ga suki desu ka?
Which do you prefer, meat or fish?
B-san: 魚のほうが好きです。
Sakana no hou ga suki desu.
I prefer fish.

As a statement expressing how an object possesses a characteristic greater than others

(Noun) + の ほう が + (Adjective) + です

Nihon no okome no hou ga oishii desu.
Japanese rice is more delicious.
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より – “..than..” / “ compared to..”

Similarly to “hou ga”, it can be used to answer a question regarding comparisons and can also express your preference or opinion on two or more objects that are being compared. For this phrase, however, you would always have to have an object, or this case a noun, as a basis of comparison in the sentence. 

(Noun A) a+ は + (Noun B) + より + (Adjective) + です

Nihon wa amerika yori chiisai desu
Japan is smaller than America.

(Noun A) + の ほう が + (Noun B) + より + (Adjective) です

Watashi wa inu no hou ga neko yori suki da.
I like dogs better than cats.

A quick summary of today’s lesson 

Let’s make sure that we haven’t missed anything and that you won’t forget anything that you learned in todays blog/lesson. 

どちらが is used when you are comparing two objects and can be replaced with どっち in an informal or casual conversation

どれ is used when you are comparing three or more objects

ほうが is used to express how an object possess a greater characteristic compared to others- can be used with or without a basis for comparison

より is similar to “hou ga” but can only be used when an object is used as a basis for comparison

Before ending todays blog, try practicing and making your own sentences using the phrases that you have learned today! Try making conversations you think you’ll encounter quite often in real life situations and try thinking about how you will answer them- all in Japanese of course!

Wow, what a lesson! We really hope that you have learnt a lot today and that you will go forth and practice what you have learnt today. It’s so admirable that you are taking it upon yourself to proactively learn things, you are awesome. If you have any comments or suggestions on things you would like to see in the next lesson please do let us know. またね。