Comparisons of Equality in Spanish – Using “Tan como” and “Tanto como”

Comparisons of Equality in Spanish

Comparisons of Equality in Spanish are comparisons in which two things or people are equal in some way. For example, the sentences in English “football is as fun as basket”, or “this person has as much money as this other person” are comparisons of equality.

In order to do comparisons of equality in Spanish, we mainly use two formulas: the formula “tan como” and the formula “tanto como”.

In this lesson we will learn and practice both formulas for comparisons of equality in Spanish, providing example sentences.

1. Comparisons of equality with the formula “tan como”

We use the formula “tan como” when the thing in which two things are equal is represented by an adjective or an adverb. That adjective or adverb must be placed between “tan” and “como”.

Examples (adjectives and adverbs highlighted in orange):

Mi hermano es tan alto como yo.
My brother is as tall as I am.

Los atletas corren tan rápido como un tigre.
The athletes run as fast as a tiger.

Sus hermanas son tan listas como ella.
Her sisters are as smart as she is.

Remember: we always need an adjective or adverb between “tan” and “como”.

2. Comparisons of equality with the formula “tanto como”

We use the formula “tanto como” when the concept in which two things are equal is represented by a noun or a verb.


In the case of a verb, that verb is placed before “tanto”. In this case, “tanto” has no gender or number variation: it is always “tanto”.

Example:

María sabe tanto como Ana.
Maria knows as much as Ana.


In the case of a noun, that noun ins placed between the two words of the formula. In this case, we need to match the word “tanto” to the gender and number of that noun, which results in 4 possible forms of the word “tanto”:

  • tanto
  • tanta
  • tantos
  • tantas

Examples (nouns highlighted in blue):

Paco tiene tanto dinero como Manuel.
Paco has as much money as Manuel.

La niña ha comido tanta pasta como el niño.
The girl has eaten as much pasta as the boy.

Hay tantos barcos en el mar como ayer.
There are as many ships on the sea as yesterday.

Mi barrio tiene tantas bibliotecas como el tuyo.
My neighborhood has as many libraries as yours.

It is also possible to leave the noun unsaid:

Tengo tantas como tú.
I have as many as you. (as many of something feminine plural that is not explicitly mentioned in the sentence)


Important! “Tan como” becomes “tanto como” if we don’t say the adjective or adverb in between


We have already explained that the “tan como” formula always needs an adjective or adverb in between.

And actually, if we don’t place an adjective or adverb in between, it turns into “tanto como”.

Look at this exchange, where the answer turns into “tanto como” because we don’t mention the adjective “interesante” again:

¿La película es tan interesante como el libro?
Is the movie as interesting as the book?

Sí, tanto como el libro.
Yes, as much as the book.

3. Practice Comparisons of Equality

Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about Comparisons of Equality in Spanish!:

Exercise

Complete the sentences below choosing between words “tan, tanto, tanta, tantos, tantas” to form Comparisons of Equality. Then check the solutions below:

1) Elena estudia ______ como Carlos.
2) Las gafas son ______ caras como el reloj.
3) Es verdad que en Francia hay muchos turistas, pero en España hay ______ como en Francia.
4) He comprado ______ mermelada como tú.
5) “¿La playa es tan bonita como la montaña?” “Sí, ______ como la montaña”.

Solutions to the Exercise: 1 = tanto, 2 = tan, 3 = tantos, 4 = tanta, 5 = tanto

4. What about comparisons of Inequality?

We have another lesson dedicated to those: Learn Comparisons of Inequality in Spanish