I found this sentence in an anki deck, which gives its translation as "Give him the magazine" or something to that effect. I understand the rest of the sentence but I'm not sure why it has ほう in it, especially since I've mostly seen that word in the "x より y のほうが” construction.

  • So you encountered this sentence in isolation in a pre-made deck and have no further context? – snailcar Oct 26 '19 at 15:26


There are two possible interpretations or meanings for this sentence. Which one is "correct" would entirely depend on the context.

1) There is one other item mentioned/discussed in the context besides the magazine and the speaker wants the listener to give/hand only the magazine (but not the other item) to Person X.

"Give (only) the magazine to him!"

2) There is only one item, the magazine, being discussed in the context. Quite a few native speakers use 「~~の方{ほう}」 because it can make them sound more indirect and thus politer overall than saying 「雑誌は彼に渡してくれ。」, which can sound a little too direct and possibly curt to some Japanese-speakers.

I've mostly seen that word in the "x より y のほうが” construction.

Glad you mentioned it. This is related to the first interpretation above. You have two items at hand and you say one of them is more [adjective]. That is the one that is serving some kind of purpose for you.

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