5

I don't know how to directly translate a sentence like this:

I [verb] [x] more than [y]

I would usually translate it like this:

[x] 比 [y] 更 [some adjective that captures the same meaning as the verb]

For example, "I love you more than my phone" would become "你比我的手机更亲爱".

Is there a more direct translation?

7

There is a very direct translation.

If "more than" means higher degree/level of the [verb], then I [verb] [x] more than [y] can be translated to 我 [verb] [x] 甚于 [verb] [y].

I [verb] [x] more than [y]. 我 [verb] [x] 甚于 [verb] [y].
I love you more than my phone. 我 爱 你 甚于 爱 我的手机.

甚于 means "surpass, exceed", indicating the degree/level of the [verb].

If "more than" means a larger number/amount, then 甚于 should be replaced with 多于.

I play basketball more than football. 我 玩(打) 篮球 多于 玩(踢) 足球.

You may notice that the verb appeared twice in the Chinese translation. The second verb is there to avoid ambiguity. There is no case(grammar) in Chinese. A pronoun is always in the same form whether it's accusative case or nominative case. If you say

我爱你甚于他

then I don't know whether you mean

I love you more than he does. 我比他更爱你

or

I love you more than him. 我爱你甚于爱他.

If you are sure no ambiguity will be introduced, then you can leave out the second verb. As in

我爱你甚于我的手机.

There is only one reasonable interpretation, that is

I love you more than my phone.

No one will interpret it as

I love you more than my phone does. 我比我的手机更爱你.

In this case, the second verb can, but doesn't have to, be left out. It's always OK to specify the second verb.

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  • Thanks! Very helpful answer. I notice that, in both cases, you specify the verb a second time. Can you ever leave the second verb out if they are the same? – Frank Tan Jul 8 '16 at 1:32
  • @Frank Tan. You can leave out the second verb if you are sure no ambiguity will be introduced. I added several lines talking about this. – ltux Jul 8 '16 at 4:43
  • 甚于 sounds a little bit too formal. Maybe 胜过? Well, anyway, the structure sounds good, and there should be plenty of words that can be applied here. – bfrguci Jul 8 '16 at 18:33

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