There are three comparative structures to express the difference between X and Y: “X比YA不了多少”, “X不比YA多少” and “X比YA一些”. In order to distinguish the difference between them, the writer collected 240 sentences and looked at all of the adverbs in each sentence. We found that three comparative structures use the different adverbs:
“X不比YA多少” is accompanied with adverbs such as “幷”, “也”, “居然”, which expresses the strongest anti-expectation information. “X比YA不了多少” comparative structure sometimes appears in contrasting contexts which is accompanied by a small number of anti-expectation adverbs (eg “居然”). Mostly it is in conjunction with adverbs such as “似乎” and “恐怕” which usually expresses a neutral information expectation.
On the contrary, “X比YA一些” can be used to answer non-interrogative sentences “X比YA多不多”. It is generally used in conjunction with the expected mark “簡直” “果然” “當然”. It typically does not infer the speaker's attitude to the statement. It is a sentence pattern with the smallest amount of antiexpectation information. The differences among the three sentences can be briefly summarized as follows: