What is Cuán

Have you ever heard about “Cuán”? Many of my students, even advanced students, say “That is the first time I have heard Cuán” when I say this word randomly talking about something else. Maybe it is because the teachers sometimes forgot about teaching it.

What is “cuán”? It is an interrogation word that we use when we want to measure adjectives or adverbs. In English you would translate it as “How”.

Imagine that I am saying that “Pedro es alto” (Pedro is tall). But you want to know how tall: ¿muy alto, un poco alto, demasiado alto?, ¿Cuán alto es Pedro?

– Mi jefe es rico. (My boss is rich)
– ¿Cuán rico es tu jefe? (How rich is your boss)
– No tan rico como Christiano Ronaldo, pero él tiene mucho dinero. (Not as rich as Christiano Ronaldo, but he has a lot of money)

We can also use this word with adverbs. For example:

– Esa casa está muy lejos. (That house is far away)
– ¿Cuán lejos está? (How far away is that house?)
– Como a 100 kilómetros de aquí. (It is about 100 km away)

There are some exceptions:
We can´t use “cuán” with mejor, peor, menor, mayor, etc., or the adverbs más, menos and antes; when we use those words, we have to use “cuánto”.

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