JLPT Level N3 Grammar Point – と言うより (How to say "Rather than…") in Japanese

We have a new Youtube companion blog for you!  In the above video, Kanbara-sensei introduces us to JLPT N3 grammar point: と言うより.  You can use this expression in conversation when you want to say “rather than…” such as to clarify a talking point.
First watch the video above, and then review the content with this article!

How to Use と言うより in Japanese

As stated in the intro, this JLPT N3 grammar point roughly translates to “rather than”.  It can be used to clarify a point about something.  言う (iu) literally means “to say”.  So it’s like: “Rather than saying X, it’s more like Y.”
“Rather than saying A, it’s better/more accurate to say B.”
It’ means that it’s fine to use “A” to describe the object of discussion – but “B” is more accurate.
The form is:
Short form + と言うより
This can be used with verbs, nouns, i-adjectives and na-adjectives.
Let’s dive right into some examples!

Example 1:

Doonatsu to iu yori, keeki mitai desu ne!
This donut looks more like cake than a donut!
In the above example, Yuka-sensei is talking about a strawberry donut that she ate.  But rather than calling it a donut – it looked more like cake!
A more literal translation of the statement is: “Rather than saying it is a donut, it looks like cake!”  However a transliteration of this expression does not sound quite as natural.

Example 2:

Kyou wa, atatakai to iu yori atsui desu ne!
Rather than saying today is warm, it’s hot!
In this examplem, Yuka sensei is talking about the weather.  Even though at the time she was speaking it was Spring, it was quite hot!
So rather than saying it’s just “warm”, it’s more accurate to say it’s hot!
This grammar point will likely appear on the JLPT N3, so make sure you have it down!

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