Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

Getting started with Chinese 3
Getting started with Chinese 3

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

3 Comparisons with

The most common way of making comparisons in Chinese is to use the word (compared with). To form a comparative structure, insert between the two things or people that are being compared and add a relevant adjective at the end of the sentence.

‘Wang Jing is taller than Li Yue.’

Table 1 Forming the comparison sentence ‘Wang Jing is taller than Li Yue’
A B Adj.
Wáng Jīng Lĭ Yuè gāo.
王京 李月 高。
lit. Wang Jing compared Li Yue tall

‘My elder sister’s Chinese is better than mine.’

Table 2 Forming the comparison sentence ‘My elder sister’s Chinese is better than mine’
Wǒ jiějie de Zhōngwén de hăo.
我姐姐的中文 好。
lit. my elder sister’s Chinese compared mine good

‘My mum is older than my dad.’

Table 3 Forming the comparison sentence ‘My mum is older than my dad’
Wǒ māma wǒ bàba
我妈妈 我爸爸 大。
lit. my mum compared my dad big

Note when the adjective , normally used to describe the size of objects, is used to describe people’s age rather than body size. lǎo (old) is used when comparing elderly people’s ages:

Wǒ nǎinai bǐ wǒ yé ye lǎo. 我奶奶比我爷爷老。

(My grandma is older than my grandad.)

Activity 3

Part 1

Wǒ māma bǐ wǒ bàba dà 我妈妈比我爸爸大。

My mum is older than my dad.

As shown in the example above, it appears that normally the verb shì is not required when forming a comparison sentence. Why is it? (Hint: could you explain it by your knowledge from last week?)

Answer

Perhaps, you can treat comparison sentences as ‘topic + comment’ sentences. For example, in sentence Wǒ māma bǐ wǒ bàba dà. 我妈妈比我爸爸大, the ‘topic’ is wǒ māma bǐ wǒ bàba 我妈妈比我爸爸 (My mum compared with my dad), the ‘comment’ is (older). In a ‘topic + comment’ sentence, the verb shì (to be) is not present.

Part 2

Review the figures below and then come up with Chinese comparative sentences to describe what is shown. Write them down in your language notebook then check the answers afterwards.

Remember that it is not necessary to use the verb shì (to be) when making comparisons.

Described image
Figure 1

Answer

Lǐ Dàwèi bǐ Wáng Jīng dà. 李大卫比王京大。

Li Dawei is older than Wangjing.

Described image
Figure 2

Answer

Wáng Yuè jiā de rén bǐ Lǐ Yīng jiā de rén duō. 王月家的人比李英家的人多。

There are more people in the Wang Yue family than in the Li Ying family.

Part 3

Guest users do not have permission to interact with embedded questions.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).