Spanish “tan como” and “tanto como” – Comparisons of Equality

Comparisons of Equality using the formulas “tan como” and “tanto como” are comparisons in which two things or people are equal in some way. For example, “football is as fun as basket”, or “this person has as much money as this other person”.

In this post, we will go through these points:

1. Comparisons of equality using the formula: “tan… como”

We use the formula “tan… como”, with adjectives and adverbs.

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.

2. Comparisons of equality using the formula: “tanto… como…”

We use the formula “tanto… como…” with nouns.

In this case, we need to match the word “tanto” to the gender and number of the noun, which results in 4 possible forms of “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.

Special case: “tanto como” without words in between

We can use the formula “tanto como” without placing any word between “tanto” and “como”.

Look at these examples:

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

Tengo tantas como tú.
I have as many as you. (of something feminine plural)

That is not possible to do with “tan… como”, where you always need an adjective or adverb in between.
Otherwise it turns into the “tanto como” formula.

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: A Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about “tan como” and “tanto como”!: