On italki I received a response to one of my notebook entries. I have trouble understanding what this person said to me xD

For more context, you can see the full entry including all comments here: https://www.italki.com/notebooks/817607

The sentence in question is this one: 先に問いに対する答えを明確にした方がよりわかりやすい回答になると思います。 このお話は、『饅頭こわい』ですか?

I feel a bit unsure about the sentence as a whole, but I struggle the most with the part in bold. I have quite some trouble with 明確にした方. Especially 方 gives me a headach since I'm a bit clueless on how to meaningfully interprete it in context of the phrase it is embedded into. I think I might have seen a similar construction elsewhere The fact that it's followed by が and then directly by より makes the riddle even harder for me. Unless for the case that より means "from", I only know it in context of comparisons.

In these contexts it usually doesn't directly succeed the subject marker. It should look more like this: この饅頭はそのチョコレートよりおいしい。=> "These manju are more delicious than that chocolate." (I hope I did this correctly, Im terrible at comparisons...^^)。It could as well be 方が, as in そうしたほうがいいです. But then the following より still irritates me.

My translation so far looks like this:

"The answer regarding the question before the made precise manner がより becomes an easy to understand reply I think. Is this the "I fear manju" story?"

As you can see I cant get through that middle section of the sentence. It doesn't even begin to make sense. I might know the 明確にした方 from similar structures like here Feeling unsure about the connection of the two sides of the comma "地図は普通、北を上にして掛かれる"

But as I said Im kind of clueless on this. I'm just guessing at this point


There are two parts in the expression:

明確にした方が よりわかりやすい

Let's start with what you specified you already knew:

The first one is what you think it is:

It could as well be 方が, as in そうしたほうがいいです. 

そうしたほうが is roughly "doing it would (be)" or "doing it this way would (be)".

The second one is also what you think it is:

It should look more like this: この饅頭はそのチョコレートよりおいしい。=> "These manju are more delicious than that chocolate."

If you leave only よりおいしい, you have "more delicious (than)", "tastier (than)".

The trick here is that より serves two functions: "than ..." and "more ... / ...-er". Without the preceding part it still retains the latter (makes the adjective comparative).

Now if you combine the two things, you come up with "doing it this way would be tastier", which has a strange meaning, but serves the purpose of showing the structure.

Back to the original example:

~を明確にした方が by analogy to そうしたほうが translates to "making ... clear would be"

よりわかりやすい by analogy to よりおいしい translates to "easier to understand"

If you combine the two parts from the phrase in question, you'll end up with:

making ... clear would be (or "make it") easier to understand

Which still requires some polishing to fit the context, but is already pretty understandable, isn't it?

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