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I know how to use 比 in simple sentences like

哥哥比姐姐高 (my big brother is taller than my big sister)

Would it be used for other sentences like

You learn more words by listening than by reading.

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3 Answers 3

you already have the answer! just remember when using 比, having an adjective at the end makes it very easy to build sentences, such as 高 in your first example.

building on what you already know, a more colloquial way of saying your second sentence could be:

如果你要學單字,用聽的 用讀的

(if you want to learn words, listening if faster than reading.)

you can also swap 快 with 有效 (effective) or 有效率 (efficient)。

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You could simply translate "than" into "比" in Chinese, but in Chinese, there are several different patterns for comparison.

grace's answer is good, but I think his translation is more likely a liberal translation(I would like to translate that Chinese sentence into English word by word: Listening can enlarge your vocabulary more than reading .You see, the subject and object are different from the original sentence). By translating the English words into Chinese one by one, you get:

You learn more words by listening than by reading.
你 学习 更多 词汇 通过 听力 比 通过 阅读

To keep the sentence structure the same, I would like to use the pattern below:

相比于阅读,通过听力你(可以*)学习更多的词汇。

*I think you need a model verb, such as "may" or "can" in your original sentence, that's why I add "可以" here.

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"哥哥比姐姐高" is correct. The next sentence "you learn more words by listening than by reading" can be translated like:

听力比阅读更能提高你的词汇量
ting li bi yue du geng neng ti gao ni de ci hui liang

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Welcome to the site. An upvote to get you started. –  Tom Au Jan 28 '12 at 16:09
    
It can be also translated as: 与其通过阅读,倒还不如通过多听提高词汇量。It means "……rather than……". –  CA55CE37 Mar 31 at 2:01

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