Chinese Grammar: All about 不如 - Making comparisons with 不如
Lupishu’s gotten used to the good life, and having now traveled quite a lot through Ninchana, he’s very clear on what he likes and doesn’t like. So he’s very interested in knowing a new comparison word that allows him specifically to make negative comparisons. And indeed, with 不如, precisely, you can say “things aren’t as good as” something else. Let’s learn about 不如!
Deny or refute comparisons with 不如
In its simplest form, you can translate 不如 into “not as good as” / “inferior to” / "not equal to" in English. You see now why it’s used for negative comparisons. As such, 不如 becomes a convenient fellow to use when you want to deny or refute a certain fact or situation.
It’s easy to use 不如. While quite similar to our good friend 比, 不如 has the added advantage of being flexible. It doesn’t require adjectives or verbs to make the comparison, unlike 比 or other comparison words.
[A + 不如 + B]
It can work as simple as that.
More advanced Structure
This slightly more advanced structure looks like this:
[A + 不如 + B + Adj./V.]
When adding a verb, the structure changes a little, as you can see in the examples above. It requires including 得, to be able to comment on the verb, using this structure: [A + verb + 得 + 不如 + B + adjective].
Using 不如 as an adverb
不如 isn’t only used to make negative comparisons. When used as an adverb in a sentence, it means “might as well”. You can use it to give advice or suggestions when there are choices to choose from, kind of like “why don’t we...”?
[不如 + Verb/verb phrase]
The full structure then means: “rather than A, might as well B...”.
我们 应 把 产品 的 质量 放 在 第一 位 ， 产品 与其 数量 多 而 质量 差 ， 不如 数量 少 而 质量 好 。 We need to make the quality of products our number one priority. We'd rather have fewer products but with high quality than a large number of products but with low quality.
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