907 - ほど (the more... the more...)

JLPT N3: ほど (the more...the more; the less...the less)

In the previous N3 lesson, we saw how ば~ほど is used to express "the more blah blah blah... the more blah blah blah..."

For example, we saw:

枕はやわらかければやわらかいほどいいです。
まくら は やわらかければ やわらかい ほど いい です。
The softer the pillow, the better.
Literally: “pillow + は + if (it is) soft + soft + ほど + good + です.”

So, ~ば form (やわらかければ [if (it is) soft])...
...followed by dictionary form (やわらかい [soft])...
...followed by ほど...
...gives us: "the softer... the ...-er."

↑ If that is confusing to you, maybe go back and read the previous lesson.

This lesson is essentially covering the exact same grammar point. The only difference is that we're dropping the conditional part of the phrase (i.e. ~ば [or なら]). For example, we could just say:

枕はやわらかいほどいいです。
まくら は やわらかい ほど いい です。
The softer the pillow, the better.
Literally: “pillow + は + soft + ほど + good + です.”


Simple dimples, baby.

 

Is there a difference in meaning?

Nah. But you're more likely to hear the shortened version in spoken Japanese.

After all, who has time to be saying long sentences with embedded conditionals? Nobody.

 

So, does a dictionary-form word come before ほど, then?

Uh, sorta. Specifically, we will put a plain-form word before ほど.

Like we saw with ば~ほど in the previous lesson, we can put an i-adjective, a VERB, or a na-adjective right before ほど

ゲームは難しいほど、クリアした時の達成感が大きい。
ゲーム は むずかしい ほど、 クリア した とき の たっせいかん が おおきい。
The harder a game is, the bigger the sense of accomplishment you feel when you’ve completed it.
Literally: “game + は + difficult + ほど, + clear + did + time + の + sense of accomplishment + が + big.”


「は」と「が」の使い分けは、考えるほど分からなくなります。
「は」 と 「が」 の つかいわけ は、 かんがえる ほど わからなく なります。
The more I think about when to use は and when to use が, the more confused I get.
Literally: “は + と + が + の + proper usage + は, + think + ほど + don’t understand + become.”


もちろん、仕事は楽なほどいいです。
もちろん、 しごと は らくな ほど いい です。
Of course, the easier the work, the better.
Literally: “of course, + work + は + easy / comfortable + ほど + good + です.”


One notable difference, however, is that it is possible to put a NOUN directly before ほど in the grammatical construction that we're covering in this lesson: 

お金持ちほど無駄遣いをしない。
おかねもち ほど むだづかい を しない。
The richer you are, the less money you squander away.
Literally: “rich + ほど + waste / squander + を + do not do.”


But it is not possible to put a NOUN directly before ほど in the ば~ほど construction covered in the previous lesson.

 

That's it for this one!

But can you use it? I think a useful trick is to memorize the pattern:

THING は QUALITY ほど i-adjective (です).

ゲームは難しいほど楽しい(です)。
ゲーム は むずかしい ほど たのしい (です)。
The harder a game, the more fun it is.
Literally: "game + は + difficult + ほど + fun + (です)."


Try to think of a bunch of phrases that fit this pattern. Once you get more comfortable using them, try expanding into more complicated sentences. And whatever you do, be sure to make lots of mistakes!

To brush up on other uses of ほど, check out these lessons:
[NDL #666] - JLPT N4: ほど~ない
[NDL #618] - JLPT N3: ほど (so... that)
[NDL #646] - JLPT N3: かと思うほど(かとおもうほど)
[NDL #900] - JLPT N3: ほど~はない
[NDL #906] - JLPT N3: ば~ほど