I have a question about making comparisons in Chinese.

What's the difference between saying '我不比她差' and '我比她不差'?

Thank you, Rachel

  • 我不比她差 I am (was) not more off(something, the mark e.g.)(wrong, deficient) than she. 我比她不差 I am more not, i.e. less off/wrong/deficient/lacking than she, , meaning of 不差 depends on context (could mean e.g. "having paid up"), i.e. taken literally the first might mean "not worse", the second " (somewhat) better" – user6065 May 18 '16 at 12:13
  • 不比+NP+形 not more 形 than NP,比+NP+不形,more not(i.e. less) 形 than NP – user6065 May 18 '16 at 12:28
  • 形 in preceding comment stands for (predicatively used) adjective, for greater generality replace 形 by 谓语 (predicate), note that e.g. 汉语水平考试词典 classifies 差 as 动词性, NP stands for "noun phrase" (including pronouns) – user6065 May 19 '16 at 3:43
  • when looking for examples of 比不 users might conclude我比她不差 might be part of 我比她不差(还要)好 which might itself be an abbreviation of 我不差比她不差(还要)好 which seems not to be uncommon – user6065 May 19 '16 at 4:44
  • 不差 can mean "not bad; OK",can be used similarly as 不错,thus speaker may not think of it as negation of something negative, and thus 我比她不差 may be quite acceptable, just as 我比她不错 may be (I am more OK than she) – user6065 May 19 '16 at 7:47
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Judging from a native speaker point of view, use '我不比她差' only.
'我比她不差' doesn't make sense in Chinese, as no one uses '我比她'+ '不' + adjective.

When you want to say 'I am better than her', say '我比她好' instead of '我比她不差' When using '我比她' + adjective, don't use '不' in front of the adjective; native people don't understand it and don't use it like that.

When you want to say 'I am not worst than her', say '我不比她差'.

More example: When you want to say 'I am taller than her', say '我比她高' instead of '我比她不矮'

  • Well, I'm a native speaker as well, and I'm a Hakka, the usage of "我比她不差" may be uncommon in my hometown, but people do say so and understand. In fact, I think it's just a habit of word choosing here. 不差 = as good as – thinwa May 25 '16 at 2:49
  • @user2550062; "我比她不差" is rarely spoken in mainstream Chinese. I have never heard of people say like this in my life. Most people here are beginners to Chinese. I wouldn't recommend anyone to learn something that's not used by the majority of people. – Eric Luo May 25 '16 at 3:13
  • I agree. Jay Chou's songs sometimes have this reverse order lyrics though. – Timtianyang May 27 '16 at 22:32
  • why I think the statement "我比她不差" has meaning of emphasis and enthusiastic, but "我不比她差" has meaning of compromise and passive. – Zack Ni May 30 '16 at 11:22

我不比她差 Normal structure

我比他不差 To emphasize you are not less...

The emphasis of 我比她不差 is , the object to be compared.

Think of it this way,

我比他不差 - I compared with her is not worse

我不比她差 - I am not worse than her

both are correct, but the latter sounds more colloquially correct.

It's all the same on meaning, to understanding...

我比她差 = I'm worse than her.

比她差 = I'm [not (worse than her)]. --We normally use this structure.

我比她不差 = I'm (not worse) than her.

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