Phrases with “ほうが” can clearly be used as a subject, including a “major subject”, as in:

  • 私のほうが速い。
  • 日本のほうが公共交通は効率的。

They can also clearly be used as a nominative object, as in:

  • 私はあなたのほうが好き。

I've also in rare instances seem them replace an accusative object, keeping the “〜が” but I don't know how natural or grammatical this is:

  • 私は日本ドラマより韓国ドラマのほうが見る。

I doubt it's grammatical here to say “私は韓国ドラマが見る” so it's interesting that the accusative object becomes a nominative object here.

Can it also for instance replace indirect objects or dative objects, and if so? How would this grammatically work? How would “ほうが” fill the place of the part marked with “〜に” in “あなたにそれを上げる” or “あなたに会う”. Is it for instance possible to say “私は母さんより弟の方が会う” to mean “I see my younger brother more than my mother.”?

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    In those later cases, are you specifically trying to use "〜のほうが" instead of "〜のほうを" or "〜のほうに"?
    – Arfrever
    Mar 4 at 19:34
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    @Arfrever yes. I find the “韓国ドラマのほうが見る” example to be intriguing and counter intuitive. One would expect “〜を” on some level yes. It fascinates me due to the “〜が”
    – Zorf
    Mar 4 at 20:18
  • Wow! Another counterintuitive use in languages! This is amazing!
    – Star Peep
    Mar 4 at 21:34
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2 Answers 2


ほう is generally followed by the particle naturally required by the verb: If the verb takes が-phrase, then ほうが; if を-phrase, then ほうを; if に-phrase, then ほうに.

In particular

  • ??私は日本ドラマより韓国ドラマのほうが見る
  • ??私は母さんより弟の方が会う

are not natural. They sound better as, using the 'natural' particle:

  • 私は日本ドラマより韓国ドラマのほう見る
  • 私は母さんより弟の方会う

On the other hand

  • 私は日本ドラマより韓国ドラマのほうがよく見る
  • 私は母さんより弟の方がよく会う

are natural (よく means often).

I guess why this is so is a Japanese-linguistic topic and doesn't have a simple answer, but one approximation would be (as this article suggests) を is preferred by instantaneous action. In contrast よく+verb (often do something) is non-instantaneous state of often doing something and comes with non-を particles.

Your ほうが見る/会う sentences are barely understandable since 見る/会う can be understood as describing (non-instantaneous) habits - but only barely. The following is more unacceptable:

  • xアメリカよりヨーロッパのほうが行く

It should be ほうに(へ)行く or ほうがよく行く.

Also, if the verb is in volitional form, all the particles are natural.

  • アメリカよりヨーロッパのほう{が,に,へ}行きたい

Here I suppose 行きたい is felt almost like an adjective.

  • Personally, アメリカよりヨーロッパのほうが行く sounds natural enough as is. Adding よく doesn't make a big difference.
    – naruto
    Mar 5 at 1:17
  • 日本のドラマより韓国ドラマのほう[が]{を⤵}見る
  • 母さんより弟のほう[が]{に⤵}会う
  • 普段男の子より女の子のほう[が]{と⤵}一緒に遊ぶ
  • 息子のほう[が]{に⤵}部屋を掃除させてることが多い

This is a delicate issue and even native speakers probably have different opinions, but I personally think these are acceptable in informal and conversational sentences (of course as long as there's enough context to prevent the sentence from becoming ambiguous). At least, sentences like these are sometimes heard in reality. This use of が is exhaustive-listing ga, which usually replaces は, but it sometimes also replaces other particles (possibly due to the confusion with the grammar of 副助詞).

In formal writing, you should use the "original" particle. Using のほう alone makes it clear that it's a comparison, but using よく would make it more understandable.

  • 日本のドラマより韓国ドラマのほうを(よく)見る
  • 母さんより弟のほうに(よく)会う
  • 普段男の子より女の子のほうと(よく)一緒に遊ぶ
  • 息子のほうに部屋を掃除させていることが多い
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    I accepted the other answer because it's longer but I want to say that I wish I could accept both your answers. This is all most informative and interesting, probably because it tethers around the edges of what is acceptable grammar.
    – Zorf
    Mar 5 at 10:54

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