If my understanding is correct, then:

  1. 他没有我高。= he's not as tall as me, i.e. he is shorter.
  2. 他不比我高。= he's either as tall as me or shorter, i.e. he's at most as tall as me.

Is that correct? If so, in what situations would one use 不比? Is it when one is sure that a certain thing is no more than the compared one, but not sure if it is the same or less? Or do people just use it without thinking about it -- e.g. someone says 不比, but may mean 没有?

  • required info contained in grammars (section on comparison) and dictionaries, these will discuss/have entries for 比 and 没有,to negate 比 it remains to put adverb 不 before (verb) 比
    – user6065
    Jan 5, 2017 at 12:54

4 Answers 4


Your understanding is correct.

1. 他没有我高。-> he <  me
2. 他不比我高。-> he <= me

Comparing with the 1st one, the 2nd one is usually used for the situation to explain sb/sth is not bad relatively. Such as:

-> I'm as tall as him at least, he's not taller than me, connote that I'm not bad comparing with him.
-> Our technology level is not worse than international advanced level, connote that we're at the same level at least.

in most cases you are right, but in precise context, like academic paper or legal document, they could be the same, both means "he is not taller than you, maybe shorter, maybe the same as you"


I'd translate those sentences in this way:

他没有我高: "He isn't as tall as me." Or more literally, "He hasn't got my height."

他不比我高: "He isn't any taller than me."

As others have said, the first one, using 没有, is clearly saying that 他 isn't as 高 as 我. It's an inequality, and you use it to establish that one is more than the other.

Usually when you use 不比, you're indicating a sort-of equality. Like "these two things are in the same ballpark." You'd use it to indicate that it isn't meaningful to say which one is greater.

If someone said "他不比我高," my expectation would be that 他 and 我 are roughly the same height, with 他 maybe being the slightly shorter of the two (but that's not a rule).

Bonus example:


"McDonalds isn't any more expensive than KFC."

The expectation is that if a meal at KFC costs 20元,then a meal at McDonalds could cost 18元 or 22元, and that would be acceptable.

If the McDonalds meal actually cost 10元, well that's a meaningful difference and you'd want to use something else... Like "麦当劳没有肯德基贵."

Hope that helps :)


I'm a native Chinese speaker, and the following is only my personal opinion from my experiences. In fact, I've never thought about the difference between “不比”and“没有”.

I think your understanding is correct.

Some possibly interesting things for you:


This means: "he is not similar to me" (it suggests than he is weaker than me in some way).


This means: "he is not in possession of me" which may be improper without context.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.