Korean Grammar: Comparisons using 보다 and Superlatives with 가장/제일

Korean grammar often provides compact and efficient ways to express comparatives and superlatives. In this lesson, we’ll dive into how to make comparisons using 보다 and express superlatives with 가장 and 제일.

These structures are pivotal for speaking with nuance and making detailed observations in Korean.

Comparing with 보다

Using 보다 is essential for making comparisons between two nouns. It’s an easy way to describe one noun as more of something than another.

Let’s explore how to use it:

누나보다 제가 키가 커요.
I am taller than my older sister.
제가 누나보다 키가 커요.
I am taller than my older sister.
누나보다 제가 키가 커요.
I am much taller than my older sister.
서울보다 런던에 복잡해요.
London is more crowded than Seoul.
영어보다 한국말이 어려워요.
Korean is much more difficult than English.
여름보다 봄에 좋아해요?
Do you prefer spring to summer?

Expressing Superlatives with 가장/제일

To express ‘the most’ or the superlative form of an adjective in Korean, you’ll often find 가장 or 제일 being used. Here’s how:

오늘은 제일 추운 날 이에요.
It's the coldest day today.
가장 빠른 사람이 누구예요?
Who is the fastest person?
현우씨가 가장 빨라요.
Hyeonwoo is fastest.


English Korean
to be smart 똑똑하다
to be hot 덥다
of the year 일년 중
학급에서 그녀는 가장 똑똑한 학생 이에요.
She's the smartest student in the class.
오늘은 일년 중 가장 더운 날 이에요.
Today is the hottest day of the year.
가장 가까운 지하철역 어디에 있어요?
Where is the nearest subway station?
구로역은 가장 가까운 지하철역 이에요.
The nearest subway station is Guro.

Understanding and properly using 보다 for comparatives and 가장/제일 for superlatives is an essential part of mastering the nuances of Korean grammar.

Keep practicing, and soon these structures will get easier.

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