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I know 方 can be used for constructions with verbs' ta forms, but can it also be use with things like nouns, adjectives, etc.? My understanding previously was that it was all the same word, but should you write "hou" differently, depending on whether you're using it for a verb or for something else?

そのほうがいい

その方がいい

行かない方がいい

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  • 1
    By 行かなかった方がいい, do you mean 行かない方がよかった?
    – Earthliŋ
    May 17, 2014 at 18:56
  • Yeah. Forgot the negative has to be in present tense. May 18, 2014 at 2:55
  • 2
    FWIW, I always use ほう to disambiguate it. Just makes for a better reading experience. Nov 25, 2015 at 19:48

1 Answer 1

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Again, looking at the results from BCCWJ

5576 ほうがいい
 747 ほうが良い
1733 方がいい
4839 方が良い

方がいい is "correct", at least descriptively speaking, although the results also suggest that if you're going to write 方 in 漢字, you might as well write 良い with 漢字 as well.

As for the difference between 漢字 with the use of nouns and verbs, we can check for nouns

523 のほうがいい
 73 のほうが良い
551 の方がいい
203 の方が良い

for verbs

3754 たほうがいい
 502 たほうが良い
1181 た方がいい
3121 た方が良い

and for negated verbs (and negated i-adjectives)

722 ないほうがいい
 86 ないほうが良い
607 ない方がいい
188 ない方が良い

This looks like 方 is slightly more often written in 漢字 when accompanying a noun (この方 and その方 account for 51 results), and sightly more often written in かな, when accompanying a verb.

(And lastly, そのほう has 53, その方 45 results.)

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    The NHK漢字表記辞典 says 方 is fine, too.
    – user1478
    May 17, 2014 at 19:58
  • Couldn't その方 be read そのかた? That might distort the results.
    – Angelos
    Nov 5, 2015 at 21:42

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