Comparing Things in Spanish using TAN + Adjective + COMO

¡Hola y bienvenido! We have already learned basic ways to make comparisons in Spanish using MÁS plus adjectives in a previous lesson. Today, we will learn how to use the structure TAN COMO for comparing things in Spanish. We will study the grammatical structure of this kind of sentences through several examples and will practice with a short quiz. Comencemos…

Comparing things in Spanish using TAN COMO plus adjectives
Comparaciones con TAN + ADJETIVO + COMO

Using TAN + Adjectives + COMO for comparisons of equality in Spanish

It is really common to say things like “Más interesante” or “Menos importante” for comparing things in Spanish. People will definitely use that kind of comparisons a lot in the language. However, sometimes people will discuss about how things are similar and there is where we need the structure TAN + Adjectives + COMO, which would be the equivalent to “As + adjectives + as” from the English language. The word TAN by itself can be used the same way as SO in English in this context: “Él es tan guapo” (He is so handsome). Take a look at the following examples of comparisons of equality in Spanish and notice how similar they are to their English translation.

Fernando es tan alto como Francisco.
Fernando is as tall as Francisco.
Ana es tan inteligente como Alberto.
Ana is as smart as Alberto.
Mi trabajo es tan difícil como el tuyo.
My job is as difficult as yours.
Una libra de oro pesa tanto como una libra de plumas.
A pound of gold weighs as much as a pound of feathers.
Mi español es tan bueno como el tuyo.
My Spanish is as good as yours.
¿Una gacela corre tan rápido como un leopardo?
Does a gazelle run as fast as a leopard?

Some special uses of TAN COMO for comparing things in Spanish

Now, we will study some special situations in which you will have to use the structure TAN COMO in Spanish differently.

Using Adverbs with TAN COMO in Spanish

It is also possible to use adverbs for comparisons of equality in Spanish too. The difference is that we will not be comparing two things, but the way actions are performed by the subject of the sentence, for example:

Ella dice que puede hablar español tan bien como habla inglés.
She says she can speak Spanish as well as she speaks English.
María puede resolver estos ejercicios tan fácilmente como Ana.
Mary can solve these exercises as easily as Ana.
Ella canta tan mal como una cabra.
She sings as badly as a goat.

Notice that we did not say “habla tan bueno como…” because we have to use the adverb BIEN (well) instead of the adjective BUENO (good). It is almost the same with MALO (bad as an adjective) and MAL (badly), but “MAL” will become an adjective to be used instead of MALO only before masculine nouns, e.g. “Mal amigo” (bad friend) not “Malo amigo”.

The differences between TAN and TANTO in Spanish

The word TANTO can be translated into “So much”, “So many” and “As much”. For the purpose of comparing things in Spanish, we would think of TANTO as “as much”. Listen to the following examples:

Karen estudia tanto como tú.
Karen studies as much as you do.
A mis amigos les gusta el futbol tanto como a mí.
My friends like football as much as I do.
Carlos tiene tantos amigos como Rodrigo.
Carlos has as many friends as Rodrigo.

Notice that one of the main differences between TAN and TANTO in Spanish is that we will not use a noun after TANTO. Also, we will place the word COMO directly after TANTO or after a noun such as “amigos” (friends) or “dinero” (money), for example, “Estudio tanto como tú” and “Ella tiene tantas obligaciones como tú”. Another difference is that TANTO may have a plural and feminine form as in “Tanto dinero” (singular and masculine form) and “Tantas amigas” (plural and feminine form).

To sum up, make sure to use TAN with adjectives and adverbs; and use TANTO with nouns like this: “Thomas es tan inteligente como tú” and “Thomas tiene tanta inteligencia como tú”.

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