LESSON DIFFICULTY: LEVEL 2
This is a relatively basic but important grammar point, and I've decided to go for it first because it's actually used in the title of an Arashi song.
Words / compared to / important / thing
Something more important than words.
The most basic sentence to use より with is:
- (1) は (2) より (Adjective) です
This sentence pattern describes the quality/state of (1) in comparison to (2).
In the case of ｢言葉より大切なもの」, if we put it into that structure, it would become.....
(This) thing / subj / words / compared to / important / is
(This) thing is more important than words
Aiba-chan / subj / me / compared to / tall / is
Aiba-chan is taller than me.
Me / subj / Oh-chan / compared to / video games / obj / like
I like video games more than Oh-chan.
It can also be used with negatives, such as:
Oh-chan / subj / me / compared to / video games / obj / not like
Oh-chan doesn't like games as much as me.
It just depends on who or what is the subject. わたし (me) is the subject of the first, whereas Oh-chan is the subject of the second.
However, in the actual song title, 「言葉より大切なもの」 the aim is not to state what the thing is, it's just referring to the thing. A more fitting (but less accurate English) translation would be "more-important-than-words thing."
In the lyrics of the song, the sentence is made more advanced and we find out more about the "more-important-than-words thing":
words / compared to / more / important / thing / here / prep. / is / because
Because a more-important-than-words thing is here
Because there's something more important than words here
You / compared to / more / big / love / subj. / nowhere / is / emph.
Compared to you, a bigger love is nowhere
There's no greater love than you
Sometimes より can be used without the rest of the sentence. This just shows a preference for the thing that comes AFTER the より.
Flower / compared to / boys
Boys rather than flowers
Out of Arashi's members, which do you like best? Matsujun?
Rather than Jun-kun, it's Nino.
However, this super-simplified phrasing is most often used in proverbs and stuff. The title of "Hana Yori Dango" is a pun on a proverb, so it works. But in normal Japanese, you'll hear something like this more often:
Rather than Jun.... it's Nino I guess.
Jun-kun / compared to / Nino / subj / like / is
I like Nino more than Jun-kun.
READ MORE EXPLANATION OF より HERE.