It seems to be human nature to compare people and things. Even if we think of ourselves as non-judgmental, comparative words such as “easier,” “faster,” and “the best” are essential in everyday conversation.
As with much of Mandarin grammar, Mandarin comparisons are quite easy to construct. The rules are straight-forward and there are few if any exceptions.
To show that one thing has more or is more than another, we use the particle bǐ. The comparative is a Stative Verb (SV) which refers to a state or condition which is quite static. Examples of Stative Verbs are tall; expensive; and important.
The sentence construction of this comparison is:
Noun1 bǐ noun2 SV.
...which translates as:
Noun1 is more SV than noun2.
The nouns can also be noun phrases, such as “those people,” or “the tables in this room.”
Examples of Bǐ
This house is prettier than that one.
Zhè dòng fángzi bǐ nà dòng fángzi piàoliang.
My older brother is taller than me.
Wǒ de gēgē bǐ wǒ gāo.
Our house is bigger than the one next door.
Wǒmen de fángzi bǐ gébì de dà.
Modifiers of Bǐ
Sometimes you may need to modify bi with a little (yīdiǎn) or a lot (de duō). These modifiers are placed after the Stative Verb.
Examples of Modifiers
This house is a little bit smaller than the other one.
Zhè dòng fángzi bǐ nà dòng fángzi xiǎo yīdiǎn.
My younger sister is a lot shorter than me.
Wǒ de mèimèi bǐ wǒ ǎi de duō.
The particle gèng can be used when extending a comparison to a third person or object. It is used in a supplementary sentence or phrase, and appears directly before the Stative Verb.
Examples of Gèng
My older brother is taller than me, but my father is even taller.
Wǒ de gēgē bǐ wǒ gāo. Wǒ de bàba gèng gāo.
It is more expensive to travel to Japan than the Philippines. Going to America is even more expensive.
Dào Rìběn lǚyóu bǐ dào fēilǜbīn guì. Dào Měiguó gèng guì.
(trad) 到日本旅遊比到菲律賓貴｡ 到美國更貴｡
(simp) 到日本旅游比到菲律宾贵｡ 到美国更贵｡