Welcome to our grammar lesson about comparisons of equality in Spanish.
Comparisons of equality are those where two things or people are equal in some way.
English sentences like “Dancing is as fun as singing”, or “Ana has as much money as Juan” are comparisons of equality.
We basically use two formulas to make comparisons of equality in Spanish: one with tan como and one with tanto como.
In this lesson we will learn both formulas and read example sentences.
At the end you’ll find a Quiz and an Exercise for practice.
Comparisons with “tan como”
tan como means “as… as…“
We ALWAYS need an adjective or an adverb between tan and como.
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.
Comparisons with “tanto como”
- tanto como means “as much… as…”
María lee tanto como Ana.
María reads as much as Ana.
Nosotros dormimos tanto como ellos.
We sleep as much as they do.
If the comparison is about something expressed with a noun, we place that noun between the 2 words of the formula:
Paco tiene tanto dinero como Manuel.
Paco has as much money as Manuel.
Also, in this case we need to match tanto to the gender and number of the noun.
So here there are 4 possibilities: tanto / tanta / tantos / tantas
(with the plural forms tantos and tantas, the comparison means “as many… as…”)
La niña come tanta pasta como el niño.
The girl eats as much pasta as the boy.
Hay tantos barcos en el mar como ayer.
There are as many ships at sea as yesterday.
Mi barrio tiene tantas bibliotecas como el tuyo.
My neighborhood has as many libraries as yours.
Note: Sometimes the comparison can be about a noun that is left unsaid, but it is still about that noun. So we still need to match tanto to its gender and number.
Tengo tantas como tú.
I have as many as you do. (as many of something feminine plural that is left unsaid. For example, it could be “mesas”)
An interesting case: when “tan como” becomes “tanto como”
We have explained that the formula “tan como” always needs an adjective or an adverb between the two words.
If we choose to leave that adjective or adverb unsaid, tan como becomes tanto como.
For example, look at the answer in the following exchange:
¿Es Laura tan simpática como Carmen?
Is Laura as friendly as Carmen?
Sí, tanto como Carmen.
Yes, as much as Carmen. (we leave “simpática” unsaid in this sentence)
Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about comparisons of equality in Spanish:
Complete the sentences below choosing between “tan, tanto, tanta, tantos, tantas” to form comparisons of equality:
1) En España hay ___ iglesias como en Francia.
In Spain there are as many churches as in France.
2) Las gafas son ___ caras como el reloj.
The glasses are as expensive as the watch.
3) Elena estudia ___ como Carlos.
Elena studies as much as Carlos.
4) He comprado ___ mermelada como tú.
I have bought as much jam as you have.
5) El reloj es ___ barato como el anillo.
The watch is as cheap as the ring.
6) Yo no tengo ___ suerte como tú.
I don’t have as much luck as you do.
7) Este material es ___ flexible como ese.
This material is as flexible as that one.
8) Yo corro ___ como ellos.
I run as much as they do.
9) “¿Es la playa tan bonita como la montaña?” – “Sí, ___ como la montaña”.
“Is the beach as beautiful as the mountain?” – “Yes, as much as the mountain”.
Other comparisons: comparisons of inequality
We have a separate lesson about comparisons of inequality: