Confused on how より works

I know より has something to do with comparing nouns, but the specifics confound me. 見た目より中身 apparently roughly translates to "It counts more what’s inside than what something looks like’ But I have a rough time seeing how that is extrapolated from “than” which is the literal translation of より. Any tips on this? Thanks!

Often the other half of these kinds of statements is omitted. You can imagine the unspoken portion being something like 見た目より中身の方が大事

But you don’t necessarily have to spell it out if it’s obvious what you mean. Whenever you see より in a “than” sentence without a の方が, the other part is being left unspoken because it’s understood.

It’s like someone saying “a bird in the hand…” and then trailing off. You know what they’re talking about.


Even without the omitted part there is some sense; the statement can somewhat stand on its own

In the particular case of 見た目より中身, you could also see より as being “rather than”. That would mean “Rather than appearance, substance/interior”. You could also read the statement as "More interior/substance than appearance, since より would imply the latter word being greater.

Another use of より that I came across when studying is “more~”. Please refer to Maggie Sensei’s website for examples as well as other uses with より:

より + adjective / adverb + verb = (even) more ~

より + adjective + より + adjective

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