This article is TAN cool

There are many common mistakes that Spanish`s students who are also native english speakers make and one is in the use of “tan”, since they usually want to use it to replace “so”.

“He is so tall” = “él es tan alto” = él es muy alto
“He is too tall” = él es demasiado alto.

A – How is that restaurant? /¿Cómo es ese restaurante?
B – It is so good. /¡Es tan bueno! Es muy bueno.

When should we use “tan”?

1) We use TAN to compare:
When we compare adjectives, and we want to say that something or someone is “as …(for example: tall) as…..another thing or person we have to use “tan”.
– Oliver es tan alto como Simón.
But be careful, because with nouns we use “tanto-tanta-tantos or tantas”. It depends on the noun’s gender and number.
– En Buenos Aires hay tantos bares como en Londres. (In Buenos Aires there are as many bars as in London.)
And with verbs we only use “tanto”.
-Oscarcito come tanto como su padre Oscar. (Oscarcito eats as much as his father Oscar.)

2) We use TAN to justify something we want to say.
Alejandro es tan alto que su cabeza choca el techo del colectivo. (Alejandro is so tall that his head touches the ceiling of the bus.)
Brad Pitt es tan lindo que las mujeres mueren por él. (Brad Pitt is so handsome that the women die for him.)

Even the second part may not be said, but it is implicit.

-No entiendo cómo podés comer tantas empanadas. (I don’t understand how you can eat so many empanadas)
-¡Es que son tan ricas! Son tan ricas que puedo comer un montón. (It is because they are so good! They are so good that I can eat a lot.)

3) We use TAN in negative, to relativize what another person says:

A- La profesora es muy mala conmigo. (The teacher is very mean with me.)
B- No es tan mala, ella te dio un día más para estudiar. (She isn’t that bad, she gave you another day to study.)

Or

A- Esa cama es muy grande para nuestra habitación. (This bed is is really big for our bedroom.)
B- No es tan grande, es casi igual a la que tenemos. (Its not that big, its almost the same as our old one.)

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