The use of より

One of the context sentences in the vocabulary 水星 reads: 月は、水星より小さい and the given translation is “The moon is smaller than Mercury”. But I thought when an object is followed by より it means it is the smaller one in comparison to others in the sentence. So why is Mercury not the smaller one when compared to the moon in this translation?
Any help would be much appreciated.

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The word attached to より is the standard for comparison.

To translate this literally, it’s: “The moon, in comparison to Mercury, is small(er).”

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Thank you magsl this really helps. Now I know to think of the word attached to よりas the standard for comparison instead of being the lesser quantity/quality.

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I always translate this literally otherwise I always get confused who is “more” than the other.

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I suspect your confusion is that it’s the smaller one when the adjective is 大きい - but here the adjective is 小さい. より marks the item that is less adjective than the other.

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I’m glad to help!