Comparatives & Superlatives

Comparatives [~보다]

~보다 is used to compare two persons or things. The person/thing that 보다 is referring to is the one that comes after "~er than" in English. The "~보다" phrase can also come before a subject. So the sentences below have the same meaning.

Note: 이/가 particles are more frequently used than 은/는 particles, and in the spoken Korean, almost exclusively 이/가 are used. 

  • 나는 동생보다 키가 크다 = I am taller than (my) younger sibling.
  • 내가 동생보다 키가 크다 = "I" am taller than (my) younger sibling.
  • 동생보다 내가 키가 크다 = I am taller than (my) younger sibling.
  • 동생보다 내가 키가 커 = I am taller than (my) younger sibling. [spoken form]
  • 동생보다 제가 키가 커요 = I am taller than (my) younger sibling. [formal spoken form]
동생보다 = than younger sibling
동생 = younger sibling
키 = height
크다 = big
키가 크다 = tall
키가 작다 = short
나 = I
내 = 나 changes to 내 before 이/가
제 = the honorific form of 내 used in formal expressions

더 is usually added before an adjective. 더 = more

More examples
  • 동물보다 사람이 더 똑똑하다 = Man is cleverer than an animal.
  • 나일강이 아마존강보다 더 길다 = The Nile River is longer than the Amazon River.
  • 철이 구리보다 강하다 = Iron is stronger than copper.
  • 피는 물보다 진하다 = Blood is thicker than water.
  • 진수가 진호보다 더 빨라요 = Jinsu is faster than Jinho.
  • 저보다 형이 더 잘해요 = My older brother does it better than me.
  • 빵보다 밥이 더 좋아요 = I like rice more than bread.

Superlatives [제일]

제일 is added before an adjective to make it a superlative.
  • 진수가 제일 빠르다 = Jinsu is the fastest
  • 치타가 육지 동물중에서 제일 빠르다 = The cheetah is the fastest among the land animals.
  • 에베레스트산은 세계에서 제일 높다 = Mt. Everest is the highest mountain in the world.
  • 피자가 세계에서 제일 맛있는 음식이다 = Pizza is the most delicious food in the world.
  • 제일 아름다운 것은 사랑이에요 = The most beautiful thing is love. [formal spoken form] (Nouns - Present, Past)
세계 = world
맛있다 = delicious
맛있는 = delicious [descriptive form] Adjectives - Descriptive
아름다운 = beautiful [descriptive form]
것 = thing


  1. Thank you! I hope you still write this blog...

  2. 안녕하십니까?

    전 한국어를 공부하고 있는 미국 남자예요. 인터넷을 찾다가 이 페이지를 갑자기 찾았어요. 여기에서 있는 한국어 문법은 재미있는 것 같아요. 그런데 이 문법의 교정쇄 읽었은 후에 몇몇 영어 중요하지 않은 실수를 찾았어요.

    (1) 선생님이 쓰셨어요:
    동물보다 사람이 더 똑똑하다.
    Man is cleverer than animal.
    CORRECT: Man is cleverer than an animal.

    (2) 선생님이 쓰셨어요:
    치타가 동물중에서 제일 빠르다.
    Cheetah is the fastest among the animals.
    CORRECT: The cheetah is the fastast among the animals.
    (NOTE: It would be better to change the sentence to: "The cheetah is the fastest among the land animals." There are many birds which are much faster than the cheetah.)

    (3) 선생님이 쓰셨어요:
    에베레스트산이 산중에서 제일 높다.
    The MT Everest is the highest among the mountains.
    CORRECT: MT Everest is the highest among the mountains.
    (NOTE: Because of "-중에서" you feel obligated to use "among 'X.' However, in English, this direct translation is sometimes awkward (어색하다). It would make a much more natural sounding sentence in English to change the sentence to something like, "MT Everest is the highest mountain in the world." and then change the Korean accordingly.

    Anyway, I am VERY impressed by this website. You have obviously put a lot of time and work into it. Is there any way that I can help you? I would be happy to proofread the English for you if you send it to me ahead of time. My email address is:

    Please keep up the good work. As you can see, my Korean needs a lot of work. LOL!

    Sincerely yours,

    David Jack Givens

  3. Hi David! Your Korean is impressive!
    Thank you for your correction. I appreciate your effort to spend some time helping me write a better guide. I find the concept of "articles" quite difficult to grasp. Especially with regard to when to use "the" and when not to use "the". I guess it takes time to get familiar with many different types of English sentences. I'm glad that you find my guide useful. And if you don't mind helping me out with my English, can you send me your corrections to my email address? It's Cheers.

  4. wow this is an awesome site, I've been looking for and using korean language internet resources for months...I can't believe I only found this just now...

  5. your blog is very helpful...
    I have a question. Can we use ~보다 to compare events/time or place? For example:

    1. Today is hotter than yesterday.
    2. His party is noisier than my party.
    3. I like going to Korea than to Japan.

  6. Yes, you can.

    1. 어제보다 오늘이 더 덥다.
    or 오늘이 어제보다 더 덥다

    2. 그의 파티가 내 파티보다 더 시끄럽다.
    내 파티보다 그의 파티가 더 시끄럽다.

    3. 나는 일본보다 한국에 가는 것이 더 좋다.
    or 나는 한국에 가는 것이 일본보다 더 좋다.

  7. I just wanted to say that your english is very good. I thought you were a native speaker!

    Thanks for the excellent site. It's better than almost all the textbooks available.

  8. First of all THANK YOU for ths blog. It's realy helpfull.

    While I was looking for sometinhg in your blog I notice that, you add this subject as an advance grammar, there I suprised ( don't mean ).

    I have been having Korean lesson like for 6 months and I am at the beginning level 3 for the moment, and the teachers (acn't speak English and my country language at all) tteach this grammar in beginning level 2. Which first teache superlatives. Don't really know when they are gonna teaach comparatives.... sorry long comment.

    Again thank you for your posts and efforts.

  9. Just a question: how about comparing actions? Should be the dictionary form of the verb used, or any other conjugation? For example...: "It's cheaper to live in Daegu than to live in Seoul". What should be used 살다부다 or 살아요부다?

    Great guide! :)

  10. 안녕하세요.
    I have been searching for such a great website for three months!
    I love your work. It made Korean grammer seem alot easier.
    Thank you and Good Luck,

  11. To dabisu,

    서울에서 사는 것 보다 대구에서 사는 게 더 싸요.

    '서울에서 사는 것' = Living in Seoul
    '대구에서 사는 것' = Living in Daegu

    더 = more
    싸요 = cheap

    더 싸요 = cheaper

  12. Can you use 제일 in front of nouns?

    제일 친구야 - Best friend

  13. Yes,

    But you need to add "좋은" to 제일.

    Best friend = 제일 좋은 친구

  14. 안녕하세요. 좀 문제가 있는데요. Superlative also includes 가장?

    1. Hi Adrian,

      Yes, you can use 가장 as well.

      가장 빨라 = fastest
      제일 빨라 = fastest

      However, you'd use 가장 more commonly in written Korean, and 제일 in spoken Korean.



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