より (yori) Meaning Japanese [JLPT N4]

Author Sandro Maglione for article 'より (yori) Meaning Japanese [JLPT N4]'

Sandro Maglione

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より (yori) Meaning Japanese [JLPT N4]

The particle より (yori) means than, more than, greater than.

より is actually used to compare two terms (A) and (B), indicating that (A) is somehow greater or more than (B).

より is also used in many expressions that derive from this particle, such as:

  • 何より
  • より~のほうが
  • というより
  • よりほかない

In this post we learn more about the meaning of より, how it is formed, and when より is used through real example sentences.


How より is formed

より is placed between two terms (A) and (B) to indicate that (A) is more than (B).

What is being compared can be a verb, an adjective in い, a noun, or an adjective ending in な (acting as a noun with the addition of な).

After より, the adjective you add the adjective that states the quality or characteristic being compared:

Verb+より+Adjective
Adjective[い]+より+Adjective
Noun+より+Adjective
Adjective[な]++より+Adjective

Let's see an example of for each of these cases:

()+より+(じょう)()
  • Noun: a better picture than...
(たか)+より+いい
  • Adjective in い: prettier than the expensive (one)...
(くるま)()+より+(はや)
  • Verb: going by car is faster than...
(しず)++より+いい
  • Adjective in な: better than being silent...

(かん)()(ひら)()()より(むつか)しい。

Kanji are more difficult than Hiragana.

Sometimes the particle も can be added after より to add emphasis: よりも.

(だれ)よりも()しっている。

I know better than anyone.

How and when to use より

As mentioned above, the particle より is used to make a comparison between two terms (A) and (B), saying that (A) is more than (B).

(A)++(B)+より

日本語(にほんご)(えい)()より(はな)しにくい。

Speaking Japanese is more difficult than English.

  • (A) is Japanese (日本語(にほんご))
  • (B) is English ((えい)())
  • The adjective that compares these two terms is difficult to speak ((はな)しにくい)

より~のほうが: more than

The expression より~のほうが consists of:

  • より: particle with respect to
  • の: particle (nominalizer)
  • ほう ((ほう)): way, direction, method
  • が: particle (subject)

より~のほうが indicates that something is more than something else.

昨日(きのう)より今日(きょう)(ほう)(さむ)い。

Compared to yesterday, today is colder.

In the example we see how より indicates that compared to yesterday (昨日(きのう)より) today's "manner" (今日(きょう)(ほう)) is colder ((さむ)い).

A particular expression using ほうが and たほうがいい.

For more details visit the page dedicated to たほうがいい.

と言うより: "rather than say"

()うより is an expression formed by:

  • Particle と (quoting)
  • Verb () to say
  • Particle より rather than...

The expression と()うより means rather than saying..., and is used to rephrase or say something in another way, or to indicate a term different from what was said before (rather than..., instead of...):

今日(きょう)(あたた)かいというより(あつ)い。

Today it's hot rather than warm.

何より: "the most important thing is"

When (なに) what is placed before the particle より the expression translates as there is nothing more important than..., the most important thing is.... (なに)より can also be translated as I am glad that...:

()()(なに)よりです。

I'm glad you're safe.

より and から: "from"

より can also replace the particle から (from) when indicating a distance, a space, or a quantity.

Specifically, より is a more formal way to indicate an "origin" than から:

これより(さき)(たち)(いり)(きん)()

It is forbidden to go further from here.

から indicates a starting point only, while より indicates a comparison between a start and an end.

(さん)()より(まえ)()てください。

Please come before 3 o’clock.

より仕方がない: "there is no other choice"

A formal way to say that there is no choice but... is より()(かた)がない. This expression uses the particle より to indicate that there is no "way" better than, where 仕方がない means there is no other way.

You can also use ()(ょう)がない as a synonym for ()(かた)がない.

()(ぶん)(つく)るよりしょうがない。

You have no choice but to do it yourself.

より他ない: "there is no other way"

When より precedes the term (ほか)ない, where (ほか) means other, another expression is formed which means there is no other way, there is no other choice:

()(てん)(しゃ)()くよりほかはなかった。

I had no choice but to ride a bike.


Examples of より

ないよりまし。

Better than nothing.

()げるほうが、(たたか)うよりいいですよ。

Better to run than to fight.

このバスのほうが、あのバスより(はや)()きます。

This bus arrives faster than that one.

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