- 1 Introduction
- 2 Video lesson
- 3 Vocabulary list
- 4 Cantonese comparisons
- 4.1 啲 a bit
- 4.2 好多、少少 a lot, a little
- 4.3 Rhetorical questions 反問句
- 4.4 Colloquial usages
- 4.5 (同)…咁 as…as
- 4.6 比起 compared to
- 4.7 adj + 咗 more…than before
- 4.8 越嚟越… more and more / less and less
- 4.9 越…越 the more…the more… / the less…the less…
- 4.10 冇咁、唔夠…咁 not as…as
- 4.11 adj + 極都…、adj + 極有限
- 4.12 太、過頭、得滯 too
- 4.13 過 more X than
- 4.14 比 another way of comparing two things
- 4.15 Quantifying how much better it is 倍、fractions
- 4.16 仲 even more
- 4.17 最 the most
- 4.18 咁多 + quantifier + … + 最 + adjective the most + adjective + I’ve ever known
- 4.19 Difficult translations with as + adjective + noun + as + comparison target
- 4.20 高達、低至、成 as much as, as little as, up to
- 4.21 Splitting with adjective + enough + to, too + adjective + to sentences
- 4.22 到 with so + adjective + that
- 5 Conclusion
Today, we’re going to move on to another unit of grammar by discussing Cantonese comparisons. Before we do so, however, I’d like to take a quick moment to look at what we’ve gone over so far.
We then moved on to run through an exhaustive list of more than 100 Cantonese classifiers, words especially paired with nouns and verbs to quantify them precisely.
In lesson 7, we saw how flexible Cantonese word order can be through techniques like topicalization and we learned about how to use Cantonese adjectives and Cantonese adverbs to help form richer, more complex sentences in lessons 8 and 9.
In just a short period of time, we’ve covered a lot of the basics. But more importantly, I hope you can see how accessible the Cantonese language is – along with a bit of vocabulary magic, I hope you’ll jump at every opportunity to integrate what you’ve learned into your daily lives to really make them stick.
Okay, enough ranting on my part, let’s get started with our topic today: Cantonese comparisons.
|檸茶||ning2 caa4||lemon tea||B|
|整嘢食||zing2 je5 sik6||to make food||S|
|大杯||daai6 bui1||big cup (drink size)||B|
|碟||dip6||a plateful of||B|
|乾炒牛河||gon1 caau2 ngau4 ho2||stir fried rice noodles with beef||B|
|阻埞||zo2 deng6||takes up space||S|
|小心啲||siu2 sam1 di1||be careful||S|
|快啲||faai3 di1||hurry up||S|
|得閒||dak1 haan4||to have spare time||S|
|長篇大論||coeng4 pin1 daai6 leon6||to make a long winded statement||B|
|長氣||coeng4 hei3||to be long winded||S|
|一輪嘴||jat1 leon2 zeoi2||in one go||S|
|一粒鐘||jat1 lap1 zung1||an hour (lap1 is a colloquial particle)||S|
|收口||sau1 hau2||to stop talking||S|
|留神||lau4 san4||to keep a lookout for||B|
|佢份人||keoi5 fan6 jan4||his personality||S|
|怪唔得||gwaai3 m4 dak1||no wonder||S|
|受歡迎||sau6 fun1 jing4||to be popular||B|
|wasabi||waa6 saa1 bi4||wasabi||S|
|冇見一排||mou5 gin3 jat1 paai4||haven’t seen you in a while||S|
|入嚟公司||jap6 lei4 gung1 si1||first join a company||S|
|移民||ji4 man4||to immigrate||B|
|難以想象||naan4 ji5 soeng2 zoeng6||hard to imagine||B|
|唱衰||coeng3 seoi1||to badmouth||S|
|路過||lou6 gwo3||to pass by||B|
|幫襯||bong1 can3||to be a common patron to an establishment||S|
|遲早||ci4 zou2||sooner or later||B|
|㷫||hing3||to be angry||S|
|馬馬虎虎||maa1 maa1 fu1 fu1||careless (especially in terms of attitude)||B|
|搶功勞||coeng2 gung1 lou4||to steal someone else’s credit||B|
|彈||taan4||to play (the piano, and some other instruments)||B|
|緊張||gan2 zoeng1||to be nervous||B|
|錦上添花||gam2 soeng6 tim1 faa1||icing on the cake (figurative)||B|
|新加坡||san1 gaa3 bo1||Singapore||B|
|惠康||wai6 hong1||Wellcome (a supermarket chain in Hong Kong)||B|
|銅鑼灣||tung4 lo4 waan1||Causeway Bay (an area in Hong Kong)||B|
|老實講||lou5 sat6 gong2||frankly speaking||S|
|推銷||teoi1 siu1||selling (promotion)||B|
|略勝一籌||leok6 sing3 jat1 cau4||to have a slight edge over||B|
|葡國雞飯||pou4 gwok3 gai1 faan6||Galinha à portuguesa||B|
|一啖||jat1 daam6||a mouthful||S|
|埋單||maai4 daan1||to pay the bill||S|
|走人||zau2 jan4||to leave||B|
|去到最尾||heoi3 dou3 zeoi3 mei5||at the end of the day||S|
|靠||kau3||to rely on||B|
|通鼻噴劑||tung1 bei6 pan3 zai1||nasal decongestant spray||B|
|醫好個病||ji1 hou2 go3 beng6||to cure an illness||S|
|鼻塞||bei6 sak1||nasal congestion (have a stuffy nose)||B|
|地獄式訓練||dei6 juk6 sik1 fan3 lin6||spartan training||B|
|初學者||co1 hok6 ze2||beginners||B|
|杏仁霜||hang6 jan4 soeng1||almond drink||B|
|建議||gin3 ji5||to recommend||B|
|食物攝取量||sik6 mat6 sip3 ceoi2 loeng6||food intake||B|
|煲湯||bou1 tong1||to make soup||S|
|吊味||diu3 mei6||to season||S|
|炸||zaa3||to deep fry||B|
|薯餅||syu4 beng2||hash brown||B|
|勤力||kan4 lik6||hard working||B|
|心滿意足||sam1 mun5 ji3 zuk1||satisfied||B|
|保濕霜||bou2 sap1 soeng1||moisturizing cream||B|
|套餐||tou3 caan1||plan (carrier)||B|
|無限數據||mou4 haan6 sou3 geoi3||unlimited data||B|
|抵||dai2||describes something that’s a good deal||S|
|信號||seon3 hou6||signal (reception)||B|
|山旮旯||saan1 kaa1 laa1||describes a place that very few people live in and go to||S|
|麥當勞||mak6 dong1 lou4||McDonald’s||B|
|樓價||lau4 gaa3||property prices||B|
|口感||hau2 gam2||texture (of food)||B|
|沉默寡言||cam4 mak6 gwaa2 jin4||to be a person of few words||B|
|餐館||caan1 gun2||restaurant (usually more high class than 餐廳)||B|
|湯底||tong1 dai2||soup base||S|
|清淡||cing1 daam6||mild (taste)||B|
|搵工||wan2 gung1||to find a job||S|
|蚊型單位||man1 jing4 daan1 wai2||shoebox units (very small apartments smaller than 200 sq. ft. in size)||S|
|供應量||gung1 jing3 loeng6||supply||B|
|做緊活動||zou6 gan2 wut6 dung6||to be on sale||B|
|原價||jyun4 gaa3||original price||B|
|蝕底||sit6 dai2||to lose out on a great deal||S|
|食唔曬||sik6 m4 saai3||to not be able to finish||S|
|唔夠大聲||m4 gau3 daai6 sing1||to not be loud enough||S|
|嬲||nau1||to be angry||S|
|頭殼頂||tau4 hok3 deng2||the top of one’s head||S|
|出煙||ceot1 jin1||to fume||S|
|頸渴||geng2 hot3||to be thirsty||S|
As with English, or any other language, there are many patterns available to help us compare different things. And as you can probably imagine, one lesson probably won’t contain enough material to cover the entire surface area.
However, we will list the most common constructions that are seen in Cantonese, and provide ample examples so you can see how they’re typically used.
啲 a bit
adjective + 啲 di1
We can use this when we want to express something’s that a bit more, or a bit less when compared to something else.
。ngo5 zi6 gei2 gok3 dak1 bui1 ling2 caa4 tim4 di1 。
I myself think that this lemon tea is a bit sweeter.
啊。nei5 tai2 cing1 co2 go3 gaa3 cin4 sin1 laa1 ，iPhone gwai3 di1 aa3 。
Take another look at the price, iPhone’s more expensive.
嘅。m4 ngaam1 ，ngo5 tau4 sin1 sin1 zi3 check gwo3 di1 sou3 geoi3 ，hoeng1 gong2 jan4 hau2 hai6 mat6 zaap6 di1 ge3 。
That’s not right, I just checked the data, Hong Kong’s population density is higher.
好多、少少 a lot, a little
adjective + 好多 / 少少 hou2 do1 / siu2 siu2
We can use this when we want to describe something that’s a lot (insert adjective here) or just a bit than another object.
Astute readers will note that there’s an overlap between 少少 and 啲 in terms of meaning, and the difference is slight – 啲 implies a lesser extent than 少少, but we don’t need to be so anal about the two.
囉。seoi1 jin4 li1 dou6 di1 gaa3 cin4 gwai3 di1 ，daan6 hai6 zing2 ceot1 lai4 ge3 je5 sik6 zan1 hai6 hou2 sik6 hou2 do1 lo1 。
Even though the prices are more expensive here, the food here really tastes a lot better.
，但係唔係好多囉。ngo5 zi6 gei2 gok3 dak1 li1 dou6 di1 jam2 je5 daai6 bui1 siu2 siu2 ，daan6 hai6 m4 hai6 hou2 do1 lo1 。
I myself think that the drinks here are a bit bigger, but not by a huge margin.
Rhetorical questions 反問句
adjective + 咗 zo2 + 啲 di1
There is, however, another usage of 啲 that you should be aware of, that is, the asking of rhetorical questions. The tone is slightly critical, but isn’t malignant in nature. If you feel that this is beyond the scope of what you can apply, you can feel free to just model after the sentences below and change the words (and maybe check with a native spekaer).
呢？li1 dip6 gon1 caau2 ngau4 ho2 wui5 m4 wui5 sap1 zo2 di1 ne1 ？
Don’t you think this fried rice noodles with beef is a bit too soggy?
呢？nei5 wui5 m4 wui5 gok3 dak1 zoeng1 dang3 sai3 zo2 di1 ne1 ？
Don’t you think that this stool is a bit small?
呢？nei5 jau5 mou5 gok3 dak1 li1 go3 hang4 lei5 zo2 deng6 zo2 di1 ne1 ？
Don’t you think that your luggage takes up quite a bit of room?
There are a few common phrases that also take on 啲, that are used in short phrases, when giving commands. They still carry the sense of “more”, but you should just remember these phrases as they pop up, instead of trying to dissect them grammatically.
siu2 sam1 di1 laa1!
faai3 di1 laa1, gon2 si4 gaan3 aa3!
Hurry up, I’m in a hurry here!
好似 / 同 hou2 ci5 / tung4 + target of comparison + 咁 gam3 + adjective
We now enter into the world of similes, when we say something is as + adjective + as + target of comparison. (By “target of comparison”, I refer to the thing that you’re comparing something to.) Let’s have a look at some examples.
同你長篇大論。ngo5 mou5 nei5 gam3 dak1 haan4 tung4 nei5 coeng4 pin1 daai6 leon6 。
I don’t have time to waste to stretch out this discussion with you.
，佢一輪嘴可以講一粒鐘，唔會收口。ngo5 zyut6 deoi3 mou5 keoi5 gam3 coeng4 hei3 ，keoi5 jat1 leon2 zeoi2 ho2 ji5 gong2 jat1 lap1 zung1 ，m4 wui5 sau1 hau2 。
I’m nowhere near as long winded as him, he can rant on and on for an hour without shutting up.
，一唔留神就唔知會走咗去邊度。fai1 fai1 zan1 hai6 tung4 maa5 lau1 jat1 joeng6 gam3 wut6 put3 ，jat1 m4 lau4 san4 zau6 m4 zi1 wui5 zau2 zo2 heoi3 bin1 dou6 。
Fai Fai is as lively as a monkey, the minute I take my eyes off him, he run off to lord knows where.
，而且人又聰明，怪唔得咁受人歡迎啦。keoi5 li1 fan6 jan4 ne1 ，tung4 aa3 cung1 zai2 jat1 joeng6 gam3 seon4 ban2 ，ji4 ce2 jan4 jau6 cung1 ming4 ，gwaai3 m4 dak1 gam3 sau6 jan4 fun1 jing4 laa1 。
In terms of his personality, he’s just as pure as Cung Zai, and he’s really smart to boot, no wonder he’s so popular.
比起 compared to
比起 bei2 hei2 + target of comparison
This is a really useful construct, it’s straightforward to use, as you can see, and I’d highly recommend that you commit this to memory.
以前嚟講，佢而家成熟咗好多。bei2 hei2 ji5 cin4 lei4 gong2 ，keoi5 ji4 gaa1 sing4 suk6 zo2 hou2 do1 。
Compared to before, he’s a lot more mature.
wasabi，我比較鐘意食紫菜味嗰包杏仁。bei2 hei2 wasabi ，ngo5 bei2 gaau3 zung1 ji3 sik6 zi2 coi3 mei6 go2 baau1 hang6 jan4 。
Compared to wasabi, I much prefer the bag of almonds that’s seaweed flavoured.
adj + 咗 more…than before
adjective + 咗 zo2
Remember when we said that “past tense = 咗 / 過” is not always true?
Well, we have proof of that here.
In fact, you can actually attach 咗 after an adjective to say that it’s more + something. The difference between this pattern and the others of comparison is that there’s an element of time to it, in the sense that it’s more + something than before.
好多！waa3 ，mou5 gin3 jat1 paai4 ，sing4 go3 jan4 leng3 zo2 hou2 do1 ！
Wow, it’s only been a while, but look how (much more) beautiful you’ve become!
咁多。nei5 zi6 gei2 tai2 haa5 ，bei2 hei2 nei5 ngaam1 ngaam1 jap6 lai4 gung1 si1 go2 zan6 si4 ，nei5 di1 bou3 gou3 geoi1 jin2 caa1 zo2 gam3 do1 。
Have a look (at this) yourself, compared to (what you produced) when you first entered the company, the quality of your reports have dropped by this much.
越嚟越… more and more / less and less
越嚟越 jyut6 lei4 jyut6 + adjective
When you read this, you might be tempted to ask – how can this mean “more and more” and “less and less” at the same time? Well, it really just depends on what adjective you attach to it. If it’s an adjective that’s positive, like “好食”, then it translates to “more and more”; if it’s negative, like “唔好食”, then it translates to “less and less”.
So, you don’t get to use “more and more” and “less and less” on the same word, instead, you’ll need a set of opposite words with 越嚟越. But, the more variation, the better, right? 🙂
多人移民去其他地方 — 我真係難以想象香港十年之後會變成咩樣。gan6 li1 gei2 nin4 hou2 ci5 jyut6 lai4 jyut6 do1 jan4 ji4 man4 heoi3 kei4 taa1 dei6 fong1 — ngo5 zan1 hai6 naan4 ji5 soeng2 zoeng6 hoeng1 gong2 sap6 nin4 zi1 hau6 wui5 bin3 sing4 me1 joeng2 。
It seems that a lot more people are immigrating to other places in recent years – I find it really hard to imagine what Hong Kong will be like in ten years’ time.
少人幫襯，執笠只係遲早嘅事。ngo5 m4 hai6 soeng2 coeng3 seoi1 gaan1 caan1 teng1 ，daan6 hai6 mui5 ci3 lou6 gwo3 gin3 dou2 jyut6 lai4 jyut6 siu2 jan4 bong1 can3 ，zap1 lap1 zi2 hai6 ci4 zou2 ge3 si6 。
I don’t wish to badmouth this restaurant, but every time I pass by it, I see less and less people actually dining in it, (I’m telling you,) it’s just a matter of time before it closes shop.
越…越 the more…the more… / the less…the less…
越 jyut6 + verb + 越 jyut6 + adjective
This structure is particularly succinct, especially in comparison with its European counterparts. And in a similar vein,the structure functions doubly to mean the more…the more…, and the less…the less…, you have to find the opposite pairs of the adjective to convey these two structures.
Another structure I highly recommend that you commit to memory – it flows much more naturally in Cantonese than in English.
，真係定佢唔順，平時做嘢馬馬虎虎，但係人哋面前搶功勞佢就最叻。keoi5 jyut6 gong2 ngo5 zau6 jyut6 hing3 ，zan1 hai6 ding2 keoi5 m4 seon6 ，ping4 si4 zou6 je5 maa1 maa1 fu1 fu1 ，daan6 hai6 jan4 dei6 min6 cin4 coeng2 gung1 lou4 keoi5 zau6 zeoi3 lek1。
The more I talk about it, the more fired up I get, I really can’t stand him, he’s usually really lax in his everyday work, yet he knows how to put on a show when it comes to taking credit for other people’s work.
，如果一開始冇咁緊張就真係錦上添花喇。gam1 jat6 bei2 coi3 go2 zan6 jyut6 taan4 faat3 fai1 dak1 jyut6 hou2 ，jyu4 gwo2 jat1 hoi1 ci2 mou5 gam3 gan2 zoeng1 zau6 zan1 hai6 gam2 soeng6 tim1 faa1 laak1 。
In today’s competition, the more she played, the better she performed, if she didn’t start off so nervous, it would have been perfect.
冇咁、唔夠…咁 not as…as
唔好似 / 冇 m4 hou2 ci5 / mou5 + target of comparison + 咁 gam3 + adjective
To the astute reader, you’ll notice that this is very similar to the structure aforementioned
好似 / 同 hou2 ci5 / tung4 + target of comparison + 咁 gam3 + adjective
Which is completely accurate, because it’s the opposite of the as… as… structure, to mean “not as… as… ”.
。san1 gaa3 bo1 jan4 hau2 mou5 hoeng1 gong2 gam3 do1 。
Singapore’s population isn’t as big as Hong Kong’s.
。li1 gaan1 wai6 hong1 mou5 tung4 lo4 waan1 go2 gaan1 gam3 daai6 。
This Wellcome isn’t as big as the one in Causeway Bay.
。li1 gaan1 hon4 gwok3 caan1 teng1 mou5 gam3 hou2 sik6 。
This Korean restaurant isn’t as good (as the other one).
，但係做研究嘅嘢我就略勝一籌囉。lou5 sat6 gong2 ，ngo5 teoi1 siu1 li1 fong1 min6 m4 gau3 keoi5 lok6 lik6 ，daan6 hai6 zou6 jin4 gau3 ge3 je5 ngo5 zau6 loek6 sing3 jat1 cau4 lo1 。
Frankly speaking, I don’t put in as much effort as he does when it comes to sales, but when it comes to research, it seems that I’m a little better.
adj + 極都…、adj + 極有限
adjective + 極都 gik6 dou1 + phrase
adjective + 極有限 gik6 jau5 haan6
This is quite the interesting structure in Cantonese, because I can’t think of an equivalent construct, my attempt at translating this ends up more long winded. It means something along the lines of “as + adjective+ as it is”, “there’s a limit to how + adjective + it is”. If that doesn’t make much sense, the examples should help clear it up with some typical use cases.
唔及上個月嗰間咁差，成世人第一次喺餐廳食咗一啖跟住就即刻埋單走人。tau4 sin1 go3 pou4 gwok3 gai1 faan6 caa1 gik6 dou1 m4 kap6 soeng6 go3 jyut6 go2 gaan1 gam3 caa1 ，sing4 sai3 jan4 dai6 jat1 ci3 hai2 caan1 teng1 sik6 zo2 jat1 daam6 gan1 zyu6 zau6 zik1 hak1 maai4 daan1 zau2 jan4 。
The Galinha à portuguesa we had just now was nowhere near as bad as the one we had last month, that time was literally the first time I walked into a restaurant and immediately left after just one bite.
go3 sin1 saang1 hou2 gik6 dou1 m4 ho2 ji5 bong1 nei5 hok6 gaak3, nei5 hok6 m4 hok6 dak1 dou2 heoi3 dou3 zeoi3 mei5 dou1 hai6 jiu3 kau3 zi6 gei2 gaa1 maa3!
No matter how good a teacher is, he can’t learn it for you, at the end of the day, whether you succeed in learning it (the subject material) or not depends entirely on your own efforts!
ni1 zek3 tung1 bei6 pan3 zai1 hou2 gik6 jau5 haan6, nei5 jat1 jat6 m4 ji1 hou2 go3 beng6, nei5 dou1 wui5 gai3 zuk6 bei6 sak1 gaak3.
There’s a limit to how good this nasal spray is, everyday you don’t get yourself cured, you’re going to keep on having a stuffy nose.
太 taai3 + adjective
adjective + 過頭 / 得滯 gwo3 tau4 / dak1 zai6
All three constructs are used to mean something that’s too much of something. But if I had to be pedantic, I would say that 過頭 / 得滯 exemplifies this sense of “too much” a bit more than 太.
啦，呢種地獄式嘅訓練根本就唔適合初學者嘅。li1 go3 gaau3 lin6 gaau3 ge3 tong4 taai3 naan4 laa3 ，li1 zung2 dei6 juk6 sik1 ge3 fan3 lin6 gan1 bun2 zau6 m4 sik1 hap6 co1 hok6 ze2 ge3 。
The classes taught by this coach are just too hard, this kind of spartan training isn’t suited for beginners at all.
啦，好似放咗十羹糖入去咁。li1 bui1 hang6 jan4 soeng1 cung1 dak1 taai3 tim4 laa3 ，hou2 ci5 fong3 zo2 sap6 gang1 tong4 jap6 heoi3 gam2 。
This almond drink is way too sweet, it’s like they’ve put in ten spoonfuls of sugar in it.
喇，我建議你漸漸減少佢嘅食物攝取量。zek3 maau1 ji4 gaa1 zan1 hai6 fei4 gwo3 tau4 laak1 ，ngo5 gin3 ji5 nei5 zim6 zim6 gaam2 siu2 keoi5 ge3 sik6 mat6 sip3 ceoi2 loeng6 。
This cat is way too fat, I recommend that you gradually reduce his food intake.
，其實放多少少鹽吊味係冇問題嘅。go3 tong1 bou1 ceot1 lai4 taam5 dak1 zai6 ，kei4 sat6 fong3 do1 siu2 siu2 jim4 diu3 mei6 hai6 mou5 man6 tai4 ge3 。
The soup’s just a bit too bland, it’s actually okay to season it with a little more salt.
過 more X than
adjective + 過 gwo3 + target of comparison
This is possibly the most common construct you’ll hear, and the most straightforward way of doing comparisons, in saying something is more X than something else.
。li1 go3 gaai1 si5 di1 coi3 san1 sin1 gwo3 go2 go3 。
The produce sold in this market is fresher than the other.
。li1 gaan1 jat6 bun2 caan1 teng1 zing3 zung1 gwo3 go2 gaan1 。
This Japanese restaurant is more authentic than that one.
。baa1 sai1 jit6 gwo3 hoeng1 gong2 。
Brazil is hotter than Hong Kong.
比 another way of comparing two things
object A + 比 bei2 + object B + adjective
This pattern already forms a sentence. It’s yet another simple formula to compare two objects in a very neutral way.
炸薯餅油膩。gon1 caau2 ngau4 ho2 bei2 zaa3 syu4 beng2 jau4 nei6 。
The stir fried rice noodles with beef is greasier than deep fried hash browns.
小俊高。siu2 ming4 bei2 siu2 zeon3 gou1 。
Siu Ming is taller than Siu Zeon.
嗰個靚好多。li1 go3 bui3 nong4 ge3 zat1 dei2 bei2 go2 go3 leng3 hou2 do1 。
This knapsack looks much better than that one.
Quantifying how much better it is 倍、fractions
adjective + number + 倍 pui5
fraction + 咁 gam3 + adjective
Sometimes, we want to quantify a comparison by saying things like “it’s X times better than that”, “he’s not even half as working as Tom”. We can do so by using these structures to be more precise with our comparisons. (After all, numbers make everything more convincing, right?)
Let’s look at some examples.
勤力嘅話，我已經心滿意足嘅啦。jyu4 gwo2 nei5 jau5 nei5 lou5 dau6 ge3 baak3 fan1 zi1 jat1 gam3 kan4 lik6 ge3 waa6 ，ngo5 ji5 ging1 sam1 mun5 ji3 zuk1 ge3 laa3 。
If you’re just a hundredth as hard-working as your dad, I’ll be satisfied.
嘅？dim2 gaai2 li1 zek3 bou2 sap1 soeng1 bei2 go2 zek3 paai4 zi2 gwai3 sing4 sap6 pui5 ge2 ？
Why is this moisturizing cream ten times more expensive than that brand?
仲 even more
仲 zung6 + adjective
Be careful that the words for “even” and “even more + adjective” are different. The former translates to “連…都…“, while the latter translates to “仲 + adjective”, which is what we have here. It’s pretty easy to use, as long as you remember this distinction.
抵。li1 go3 tou3 caan1 zan1 hai6 m4 co3 ge3 ，daan6 hai6 gaa1 do1 jat1 baak3 man1 ge3 waa6 jau5 mou4 haan6 sou3 geoi3 ，ngo5 gok3 dak1 zung6 dai2 。
This plan is pretty good, but if you add just a hundred bucks, you’ll get unlimited data, which is even better.
差。li1 dou6 ge3 seon3 hou6 syun3 hou2 ge3 laa3 ，jyu4 gwo2 nei5 heoi3 di1 saan1 kaa1 laa1 ge3 dei6 fong1 zung6 caa1 。
The signal here is already pretty good, if you go further out to places few people go to, it’s even worse.
最 the most
最 zeoi3 + adjective
Here, we have another common structure. When you want to say something’s “the most + adjective”, the best, or maybe the worst, then you just add 最 in front of the adjective to indicate the superlative.
平嘅餐廳。kei4 sat6 mak6 dong1 lou4 m4 hai6 zeoi3 ping4 ge3 caan1 teng1 。
McDonald’s is actually not the cheapest restaurant around.
貴。hoeng1 gong2 lau4 gaa3 cyun4 sai3 gaai3 zeoi3 gwai3 。
Hong Kong sports the most expensive property prices in the world.
唔好食。li1 dou6 ge3 caau2 faan6 zeoi3 m4 hou2 sik6 。
The fried rice here tastes the worst.
㗎啦。lei1 zek3 baau1 jyu4 hai6 zeoi3 leng3 gaa3 laa3 。
This type of abalone is the best there is.
唔鍾意食黃瓜，味道口感都怪怪哋。ngo5 zeoi3 m4 zung1 ji3 sik6 wong4 gwaa1 ，mei6 dou6 hau2 gam2 dou1 gwaai3 gwaai2 dei2 。
I hate eating pickles the most, its taste and texture feel pretty weird.
咁多 + quantifier + … + 最 + adjective the most + adjective + I’ve ever known
咁多 gam3 do1 + classifier + object + 當中 dong1 zung1 + 最 zeoi3 + adjective
If this seems overly long for a structure, I happen to agree – my decision to include this is mainly motivated by their Japanese / Korean counterparts
の中で最も / 一番 + 形容詞 + 名詞 + の一つ
no nakade mottomo / ichiban + keiyoshi + meishi + no hitotsu
가장 + 형용사 + 명사 + 중의 하나
ka jang + hyeong yong sa + myeong sa + jung e hana
沉默寡言嘅一個人。keoi5 hai6 ngo5 sik1 gam3 do1 go3 jan4 dong1 zung1 zeoi3 cam4 mak6 gwaa2 jin4 ge3 jat1 go3 jan4 。
He’s one of the quietest people I know.
個湯底整得最清淡自然嘅一間。li1 gaan1 jyut6 naam4 caan1 gun2 hai6 ngo5 sik6 gwo3 gam3 do1 gaan1 dong1 zung1 go3 tong1 dai2 zing2 dak1 zeoi3 cing1 daam6 zi6 jin4 ge3 jat1 gaan1 。
This Vietnamese restaurant makes one of the most natural tasting broths among all the ones I’ve tried.
Difficult translations with as + adjective + noun + as + comparison target
We now enter into the realm of difficult translations. There are certain expressions or structures that are seen only in a particular language, but have no equivalent in another.
In English, one such example would be things like “as good a phone as could be bought in the current market”, “as soft a fabric as there exists”. Expressions like these need to be rephrased, broken down before we attempt to translate them back to the target language, in this case, Cantonese.
Let’s look at some examples of how to do this.
啊 – 點解你會話佢異常嘅？keoi5 tung4 kei4 taa1 tung4 nin4 ling4 ge3 siu2 pang4 jau5 jat1 joeng6 gam3 zing3 soeng4 aa1 – dim2 gaai2 nei5 wui5 waa6 keoi5 ji6 soeng4 ge2 ？
He is as normal a kid as any other – why would you say he’s strange?
嘅喇。zok3 wai4 jat1 go3 lou5 si1 ，keoi5 syun3 hai6 fei1 soeng4 zi1 jau5 noi6 sing3 ge3 lou5 si1 ge3 laa1 。
She was as patient a teacher as anyone could have had.
呢？go2 bun2 syu1 deoi3 nei5 wan2 dou2 go2 fan6 gung1 jau5 gei2 daai6 ge3 bong1 zo6 ne1 ？
How important a role did the book have in helping you land that job?
高達、低至、成 as much as, as little as, up to
高達 / 低至 / 成 gou1 daat6 / dai1 zi3 / seng4 + number
More to do with numbers. When we want to say things like “up to”, “as low as”, “as much as”, before a number, we can use these three words to do so – 高達, 低至, 成. In reality, 高達 and 低至 are usually seem with percentages, especially in the news, while 成 has a more generic scope of application, and can be heard more commonly used in daily conversations.
But beware that 成 can mean “up to”, in terms of an upper limit, but it can’t be used to indicate a lower limit. It’s quite a special word.
百分之四十。cyun4 gong2 man1 jing4 daan1 wai2 ge3 gung1 jing3 loeng6 ge3 zang1 fuk1 gou1 daat6 baak3 fan1 zi1 sei3 sap6 。
The supply of “shoebox units” in Hong Kong have risen up to forty percent.
原價嘅百分之三十咋，唔買就蝕底啦！ji4 gaa1 keoi5 dei6 zou6 gan2 wut6 dung6 ，so2 jau5 ge3 saam1 gaam2 dou3 dai1 zi3 jyun4 gaa3 ge3 baak3 fan1 zi1 saam1 sap6 zaa3 ，m4 maai5 zau6 sik6 dai2 laa3 ！
They’re currently doing a promotion, and all the shirts are reduced to just 30% of the original price, if you don’t buy them, it’s such a waste!
十三樣嘢食囉喎，再叫嘅話我驚食唔曬。ji5 ging1 gaan2 zo2 seng4 sap6 saam1 joeng6 je5 sik6 lo3 wo3 ，zoi3 giu3 ge3 waa6 ngo5 geng1 sik6 m4 saai3 。
We’ve already decided on thirteen dishes to order, if you order any more, I don’t think we can finish them all.
Splitting with adjective + enough + to, too + adjective + to sentences
Another example of translating indirectly.
In English, it’s quite common to say things like “I’m not tall enough to…”, “I’m not important enough to…”, but these phrases with “enough to” don’t have direct equivalents – a good strategy is to split them up into two phrases and then attempt and translations, as seens with these examples.
高，我隻手伸唔到上去個櫥櫃。ngo5 m4 gau3 gou1 ，ngo5 zek3 sau2 san1 m4 dou2 soeng5 heoi3 go3 cyu4 gwai6 。
I’m not tall enough to reach into that cupboard.
大聲，我哋都聽唔到佢講咩。keoi5 gong2 je5 gong2 dak1 m4 gau3 daai6 seng1 ，ngo5 dei6 dou1 teng1 m4 dou2 keoi5 gong2 me1 。
He didn’t speak loudly enough to be heard.
到 with so + adjective + that
adjective + 到 dou3 + phrase
We’re at the end of our list of examples, but this is arguably one of the most important structures we have in today’s lesson. It was originally carved out to be in another lesson, but since it falls under the umbrella of comparisons, I thought it would be nice to get an advance peek at what it does.
到 means “to the extent that”, and you can use it to make all sorts of interesting sentences, sentences like “he’s so hungry that he cleaned out all the dishes everyone couldn’t finish”, “they’re so unpopular that their mere presence elicited booes from the audience”, “this show is so popular that the arena of ten thousand seats sold out in just five minutes”.
頭殼頂出煙。keoi5 nau1 dou3 tau4 hok3 deng2 ceot1 jin1 。
He’s so angry that his head is fuming.
飲咗成三樽水。ngo5 paau2 jyun4 bou6 tau4 sin1 geng2 hot3 dou3 jam2 zo2 seng4 saam1 zeon1 seoi2 。
After finishing my run, I was so thirsty that I finished three bottles of water.
場內一萬張戲飛頭五分鐘就賣曬。coeng4 hei3 jin2 dak1 hou2 tai2 dou3 coeng4 noi6 jat1 maan6 zoeng1 hei3 fei1 tau4 m5 fan1 zung1 zau6 maai6 saai3.
The show was so good that ten thousand tickets in the arena were sold out in a mere five minutes.
Alright, as usual, that’s about all for today.
As usual, questions and comments are welcome, and I hope you’ll try out some of these new patterns and some of the new vocabulary introduced today.
If you found this lesson helpful, please take a minute to share this on Facebook, I’ll be very grateful!
I look forward to seeing you again next time – have a wonderful holiday season and Merry Christmas!
zuk1 daai6 gaa1 zit6 jat6 tung4 maai4 sing3 daan3 zit3 faai3 lok6!