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How-to use NOUN + の方 as “NOUN’s side”

How-to use NOUN + の方 as “NOUN’s side”

The Japanese grammar pattern of adding the phrasing の方 (ほう) right after a noun word to add a certain nuance is one that does not quite have an English language equivalent or counterpart. Simplistically put, this grammar pattern is used to emphasize that the noun modified is what makes the statement in the sentence true.

For example, in the following construction
CLAUSE + のは + NOUN + の方(だ/です)
The NOUN is emphasized at what fulfills CLAUSE.

The word 方 (ほう) translates to, quite vaguely, “direction, way, side, etc.” In this sense, using の方 after a NOUN and establishing NOUN’s “side” at times implies that there are also other side(s) that are also options to choose from and that there is a best option amongst all (typically expressed as being NOUN). Depending on context, this creates a sort of compare/contrast dynamic between NOUN and another entity, in the sentence (possibly implicit). This is subtly discernable in certain other grammar patterns, such as た-Form VERB + 方がいい as “should do VERB,” or more literally, “it’s better/best to do VERB (as opposed to doing any of the other options).”

Example(s):

強いのは彼の方だが、早いのは私の方だ。
Tsuyoi no wa kare no hou daga, hayai no wa watashi no hou da.
(If we’re talking about strength he is better, but if we’re talking about speed I am better.)

お姉さんとお兄さんでは、厳しいのはお姉さんの方です。
Onee-san to onii-san dewa, kibishii no wa onee-san no hou desu.
(Between older sister and brother, the strict one is sister.)
*This is a hypothetical conversation with the actual siblings, thus the usage of お姉さん and お兄さん

私は猫より犬の方が好きです。
Watashi wa neko yori inu no hou ga suki desu.
(I like dogs more than cats.)

土曜日の方がいい。
Doyoubi no hou ga ii.
(Saturday is better.)