Grammar Info
N3 Lesson 4: 1/21

に比(くら)べて
compared to, when compared to

Structure
Noun + に比べ(1)

(1) に比べたらに比べればに比べると
Details
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Information
に比(くら)べて is a set expression in Japanese, used when comparing one thing to another. It is often simply translated as ‘(A) compared to (B)’, or ‘when comparing (A) to (B)’. 比(くら)べる is a る - Verb that means ‘to compare’, or ‘to contrast’.
に比(くら)べて will be attached directly after a noun, before the (B) part of the sentence will explain the comparison that is being made.
  • 東京(とうきょう)冬(ふゆ)は北海道(ほっかいどう)冬(ふゆ)に比(くら)べて全然(ぜんぜん)寒(さむ)くない
    Tokyo's winter is not cold at all compared to Hokkaido.
  • 去年(きょねん)に比(くら)べて今年(ことし)冬(ふゆ)は温(あたた)かい。
    Compared to last year, this year's winter is warm.
Occasionally, the 格助詞(かくじょし) (case marking particle) と will be used instead of . and と are largely interchangeable in this expression, with focusing slightly more on the changes/differences between similar features of (A) and (B). Alternatively と often mutually contrasts (A) and (B), discussing their individual/unique characteristics.
  • 大阪(おおさか)人口(じんこう)は東京(とうきょう)人口(じんこう)に比(くら)べて小(ちい)さい。
    Osaka's population is smaller compared to Tokyo.
  • 彼(かれ)も真面目(まじめ)だけど、君(きみ)は彼(かれ)に比(くら)べるもっと真面目(まじめ)
    He is serious too, but you are more serious compared to him.
  • 君(きみ)は彼(かれ)比(くら)べて真面目(まじめ)
    Compared to him, you are serious. (You are serious, while he has other qualities)
  • 日本(にほん)はアメリカ比(くら)べて小(ちい)さい。
    Compared to America, Japan is small. (Japan is small, compared to America, which is big, among other things)
Caution
The way that 比(くら)べる is conjugated is not overly important to the sentence, so long as the meaning of ‘if’, or ‘when’ is conveyed. Due to this, に比(くら)べたら, に比(くら)べれば, and に比(くら)べると are all possible combinations.
  • 他(ほか)の地域(ちいき)に比(くら)べたらこの地域(ちいき)は住(す)みやすい
    Compared to other areas, this area is very easy to live in.
  • 去年(きょねん)に比(くら)べれば今年(ことし)は寒(さむ)いけど、昨日(きのう)に比(くら)べたら今日(きょう)は暖(あたた)かい。
    If compared to last year, it is colder this year. However if we compare it to yesterday, it is warm today.
  • 新型(しんがた)パソコンに比(くら)べるとこのパソコンは遅(おそ)く感(かん)じるけどそんなに遅(おそ)くない
    If we compare this computer to a new model, it feels slow, but it’s not that slow.
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一(いち)学期(がっき)に比(くら)べて成績(せいせき)がよくなった。
My grades have improved compared to first semester.
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アメリカに比(くら)べたら日本(にほん)の方(ほう)が安全(あんぜん)だと思(おも)う
I think that when compared to America, Japan is the safer of the two.
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他(ほか)の痛(いた)さに比(くら)べて、頭痛(ずつう)は一番(いちばん)辛(つら)い。
When compared to other types of pain, headaches are the worst.
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