Beginner 2 > Lesson 9
Lesson 9. How to say “than noun” : Making Comparison [noun 보다, 더(more), 덜(less)]
In today’s lesson, we’re going to learn how to make comparative sentences in Korean.
First of all, we need to know what comparatives are.
To make an adjective / verb in a comparative form in English, it goes like this :
easy – easier (you add ~er ending to an adjective)
calm – calmer
beautiful – more beautiful (you add more before an adjective)
study – study more
like – like more
You then add “than” before the noun that is being compared to.
Korean food is spicier than Japanese food. – 한국 음식이 일본 음식보다 더 매워요.
I studied more than yesterday. – 어제보다 더 (많이) 공부했어요.
Now let’s learn specifically how a comparative sentence in Korean works.
1. Particle “보다” (than, compared to)
보다 is a particle that corresponds to “than” in a comparative sentence.
Let’s look at some examples:
오늘은 어제보다 더 더워요. – Today is hotter than yesterday.
엄마는 아빠보다 요리를 더 잘해요. – My mom is better at cooking than my dad.
제 오빠는 저보다 키가 더 커요. – My older brother is taller than me.
저는 책 읽는 거보다 영화를 보는 걸 더 좋아해요. – I like watching movies more than reading books.
제 친구보다 밥을 더 먹었어요. – I ate more than my friend.
보다(than) is a particle, so you need to add it after a noun that is being compared to.
2. Adverb “더” (more)
“더” is an adverb that means “more,” and you can put it before an Adjective, Adverb or Verb.
It is acceptable to omit 더 if it’s followed by an adjective or adverb and the comparative particle “보다” is already in the sentence. This is because it’s obvious that you’re making comparison and which one is more.
Noun + 보다 + 더 + Adjective / Adverb + Verb : Verb/Adjective/Adverb more than Noun
1) 더 + Adjective
아름답다 (to be beautiful) > 더 아름다워요 > more beautiful
맵다 (to be spicy) > 더 매워요 > spicier
쉽다 (to be easy) > 더 쉬워요 > easier
귀엽다 (to be cute) > 더 귀여워요 > cuter
건강하다 (to be healthy) > 더 건강해요 > healthier
2) 더 + (Adverb) + Verb
: when 더 comes right before a verb, it’s usually because the adverb is omitted.
The most common adverbs that are used with “더” are 많이 (a lot), 자주(often), and 오래(for a long time).
These adverbs can be omitted, but doesn’t always have to, especially if you’re trying to put emphasis.
저는 앞으로 책을 더 (많이)* 읽을 거예요. – From now on, I’m going to read more books.
저는 우리 가족을 더 (자주) 볼 거예요. – I will see my family more often.
어제보다 더 (오래)** 공부했어요. – I studied for a longer time than yesterday. (=or, 어제보다 오래 공부했어요. – It’s possible to omit 더 when it’s clear which one is more.)
*더 많이 literally means “more a lot” and it means “more in amount/degree.”
**더 오래 means “more long time” so it means “longer time.”
Let’s look at some more example sentences:
튤립이 해바라기보다 더 아름다워요. – Tulips are more beautiful than sunflowers.
한식을 미국 요리보다 더 (많이) 좋아해요. – I like Korean food more than American food.
겨울은 가을보다 더 추워요. – Winter is colder than fall.
강아지는 고양이보다 귀여워요. – Dogs are cuter than cats.
나는 지금 살고 있는 도시보다 내 고향을 더 좋아해. – I like my hometown more than the city I currently live in.
부산보다 서울에 더 오래 있었어요. I stayed in Seoul longer than Busan.
제가 지수보다 더 많이 먹었어요. I ate more than Jisoo.
You can also use “더(more)” without the comparative particle “보다,” when you’re not necessarily making specific comparison.
이 영화가 더 재미있어요. – This movie is more interesting. (You are comparing one movie to another, not specifying anything).
이 영화는 어제 우리가 본 영화보다 더 재미있요. – This movie is more interesting than the one we watched yesterday (here, you compare one specific movie to another using 보다).
저는 한국어를 더 열심히 공부할 거예요. – I will study Korean harder. (You are implying that you’ll study it harder than before or other people.).
저는 다른 학생들보다 한국어를 더 열심히 공부해요. – I study Korean harder than other students (you compare yourself to other students using ~보다).
더 자주 웃을게요. – I will smile more often (implies, from now on.)
울기보다는 더 자주 웃어. Smile more often than you cry. (you are comparing smiling and crying.)
- Adverb 덜 (less)
When you want to say that something is “less Verb/Adjective”, you can use 덜, which basically has the opposite meaning of 더 and is used exactly the same way.
1) 덜 + Adjective
간단하다 (to be simple) > 덜 간단해요 > less simple
편리해요 (to be convenient) > 덜 편리해요 > less convenient
힘들다 (to be difficult, energy-consuming) > 덜 힘들어요 > less difficult
따뜻하다 (to be warm) > 덜 따뜻해요 > less warm
춥다(to be cold) > 덜 추워요 > less cold
예쁘다(to be pretty) > 덜 예쁘다 > less pretty
2) 덜 + (Adverb) + Verb
좋아하다(to like) > 덜 (많이) 좋아해요
만나다(to meet) > 덜 (자주) 만나다
저는 요가가 달리기 운동보다 덜 힘들어요. – For me, yoga is less difficult than running. (=달리기 운동이 요가보다 더 힘들어요 / Running is more difficult than yoga.))
저는 수학을 미술보다 덜 (많이) 좋아해요. – I like math less (much) than art. (=저는 미술을 수학보다 더 좋아해요. / I like art more than math.)
이번 달은 저번 달보다 친구들을 덜 (자주) 만났어요. – I met my friends less (often) this month than the last month. (=이번 달 보다 저번 달에 친구들을 더 자주 만났어요. / I met my friends more often last month than this month.)
호주는 12월이 7월보다 덜 추워요. In Australia, December is less colder than July. (=호주는 7월이 12월 보다 추워요. / July is colder than December.)
제 신발은 지수의 신발보다 덜 예뻐요. My shoes are less prettier than Jisoo’s. (=지수의 신발이 제 신발보다 더 예뻐요. / Jisoo’s shoes are prettier than mine.)
저는 요즘 덜 먹어요. – These days I eat less (than I usually do.)
아직 덜 잤어요. – I still slept less (I didn’t have enough sleep yet.)