Genevieve from Perth, Australia, asks:
How do I say "THAN" in Italian?
As in "Sam is taller than Joe" or "He is more handsome than (he is) smart"
When making comparisons in Italian, the second term of comparison can be introduced by either on these two words:
DI is used when comparing TWO DIFFERENT ITEMS
based on the same quality.
CHE is used when comparing TWO DIFFERENT QUALITIES
of the same item.
MARCO È PIÙ ALTO DI PIERO
Marco is taller than Piero
IO MANGIO MENO DI TE
I eat less than you
L’AUSTRALIA È PIÙ GRANDE DELL’ITALIA
Australia is bigger than Italy
(here DELL’ is the combination of DI with the article L’ needed for Italia)
LA PIZZA È PIÙ BUONA DELLA PASTA
Pizza tastes better than pasta
(here DELLA is the combination of DI with the article LA needed for pasta)
In the above examples, we are comparing TWO items (Marco and Piero, me and you, Australia and Italian, pizza and pasta) by the same quality (height, how much we eat, size, taste).
When comparing TWO DIFFERENT ITEMS by the same quality, in Italian we use DI to mean "than" - Sara è più bella di Marta
STEFANO È PIÙ BELLO CHE INTELLIGENTE
Stefano is more handsome than intelligent
L’ITALIA È PIÙ TURISTICA CHE TECNOLOGICA
Italy is more touristy than technological
MARTA PARLA PIÙ FRANCESE CHE TEDESCO
Marta speaks more French than German
MARTA PARLA MENO FRANCESE CHE TEDESCO
Marta speaks less French than German
In the above examples, we are comparing TWO qualities (looks and brains, touristy VS technological, the speaking of French and German) of the same item (Stefano, Italy, and Marta)
When comparing TWO QUALITIES of the same item, in Italian we use CHE to mean "than" - Marco è più bello che intelligente