Why is だというより wrong in this question?

So I’m answering this question in a cram session and it says that だというより is incorrect, whilst というより is correct. I’ve read over the notes of the grammar point again (というより (JLPT N3) | Bunpro – Japanese Grammar Explained) and I can’t really see a reason for it being wrong, like the adjective ends in an “i” but its part of the kanji reading so surely its an な adjective. Anyone have any ideas?


I’m not an expert on the grammar, but the description given in the lesson seems to be incorrect. If you look at all of the example sentences given on the grammar point, you will never see だ precede というより with na-adj and nouns.

Chat GPT (trust at your own risk):

Q: is “彼は聡明というよりずる賢い人です。” grammatically correct?

R: Yes, the sentence “彼は聡明というよりずる賢い人です。” is grammatically correct in Japanese. It can be translated into English as “He is not so much intelligent as cunning.” The sentence uses the pattern “というより” (to iu yori) to express a comparison between two qualities or characteristics. In this case, it contrasts “聡明” (sōmei, intelligent) with “ずる賢い” (zuru kashikoi, cunning or sly).

Q: why is there no だ after 聡明 in this sentence

R: In Japanese, the copula verb “だ” (da) is often omitted in certain contexts, especially in casual or colloquial speech. In the sentence “彼は聡明というよりずる賢い人です。” (Kare wa sōmei to iu yori zuru kashikoi hito desu), the copula “だ” is not necessary because the sentence is expressing a characteristic or description of someone. This omission of the copula is common when using adjectives or noun phrases to describe someone or something. Therefore, it is grammatically correct to omit “だ” in this sentence.

Q: is it still grammatically correct if he だ is added after 聡明?

R: No, it would not be grammatically correct to add “だ” after “聡明” in this particular sentence. When using the pattern “というより” (to iu yori) to express a comparison between qualities or characteristics, the copula “だ” is typically not used. Instead, the noun or adjective is directly followed by “というより” to indicate the comparison. Adding “だ” in this case would be considered unnatural or incorrect grammar. So, it is best to keep the sentence as “彼は聡明というよりずる賢い人です。” without adding “だ” after “聡明.”


Hmmm interesting. Would be nice to get one of the site developers to weigh in on whether the lesson description needs updating

Thank you for your response!


I asked a (Japanese) friend and they said it should be without the だ for 形容動詞 and preferably for 名詞 as well however I have no idea how prescriptive this rule is. I’d never thought about it before but it makes more sense the more I think about it.

Both with and without the だ are acceptable in most cases, but just keep in mind in this particular sentence you would have a だ and a です in the same sentence, meaning it is not following consistency of formality. Additionally, というより is saying that ‘rather than (A), something --is-- (B)’. Because of this, you’ll almost always find the だ or です at the end of these sentences, rather than in the middle.

Once again, both are 100% correct. Adding the だ is just a bit superfluous as you’re saying ‘is’ twice, when the sentence is focusing more on the thing that comes after より.


The English is doing the same thing (adding is twice):

“Rather than saying that he is wise, he is cunning.”

The Japanese is consistent with the English translation in this case. I guess if you say it without だ in Japanese, then the English would be more like:

“Rather than saying wise, he is cunning.”

Probably being too literal here though :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:.

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Do you have any idea why my friend felt otherwise? Is this a case of grammatical acceptability versus how people actually speak/write? When looking for actual native examples it seems to be overwhelmingly the case that だ isn’t used. Maybe I am bad at looking though.

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I checked a few different sources. Kanzen master actually doesn’t specify, just said ‘pretty much anything’, edewakaru didn’t specify either, but this site had more specific conjugation.

It could be just what you said about speech habits. Haruna seems to think they are both 100% interchangable, but from what I have seen I would err on the side of omission.


Thank you for all the information and the explanations, I’ll definitely just omit from now on to be on the safe side.
Glad to see that my mistake wasn’t just a glaringly obvious one haha


So I have discussed this with a few people this morning and the main things they all said were:

  • 形容動詞というより形容詞 sounds strange but 形容動詞だというより形容動詞だ sounds fine (so 綺麗というよりかわいい sounds a bit odd)
  • similar thing but with two nouns if the first one has だ then the second one needs だ to not sound strange (this feels like it goes without saying but)
  • any version with だ sounds emphasized (again this feels obvious but)
  • in almost all cases the version without だ sounds more natural both in speech and writing (always suspicious of these claims as sometimes people underestimate the role of context or simply forget a context in which something sounds natural or not)
  • だ (or である as well although when this might be used is obviously very limited) is of course grammatically fine
  • all four people I spoke to immediately said that without だ is correct and then after thinking will then said that だ is possible

Obviously the sample size is tiny and all these people are from the same place and speak the same dialect so maybe that plays into it but I just thought I’d update this thread with my informal findings. Gonna take this to mean that I should just drop だ (luckily what I already did) until I am confident on the exact nuance from experience.


This basically sums up most questions I ask native speakers about grammar rules :rofl:.

Thanks for doing the extended research! I also noticed when I was researching about it that it comes after other grammatical structures fairly often, like としてというより ‘rather than as an X, they’re more a Y’. This is just one of the quotation effects of と I believe. It can stop a sentence wherever it pleases in terms of grammar, but what is ‘customary’ is a whole different story.