Tan / Tanto: A Small change but a Big difference

Hi everyone!
After such a long time, we’re going to explain a recurring doubt when learning Spanish: we’re referring to the words ‘‘Tan’’ and ‘‘Tanto’’. Both words are similar, but they have a slight difference.

  • ‘‘Tanto’’ can be used as a quantifier in its different variants (tantos, tantas, tanta). It’s the equivalent of ‘‘So much / So many’’. Examples of these are ‘‘Tenía tantas gallinas en su campo’’, ‘‘Había tanto material para compartir’’, ‘‘Es increíble que seamos tantos en la fiesta’’, among many other sentences of this type.
  • ‘‘Tan’’ is usually a shortened version of ‘‘Tanto’’, which is used mainly as an adverb. It’s equivalent to ‘‘So’’ in phrases such as ‘‘Era tan amable conmigo’’, ‘‘El helado estaba tan delicioso’’ or ‘‘Tan mal no le pudo haber ido’’.

As you can see, they’re very similar words, but they are very different when used in certain sentences. Here is a small exercise for you to practice the differentiation we have just explained:


A) Era un clima tan cálido.
B) Era un clima tanto cálido.


A) Él tenía tantas papel para dibujar.
B) Él tenía tanto papel para dibujar.


A) Había tanta juguetes en el suelo.
B) Había tantos juguetes en el suelo.


A) ¿Veré tan gente allí?
B) ¿Veré tanta gente allí?

I hope you found it useful, dear community. Keep learning this beautiful language! :wave: