I often see confusion in the use of TÃO and TANTO in Portuguese. With this Portuguese lesson I hope to show you that it is easy to use TÃO and TANTO correctly. I will also show you that TANTO can have feminine and plural forms, and I will share useful expressions with you.
Even if you don’t feel comfortable with grammatical terms such as adverb and adjective, you can benefit from this lesson: Just focus your attention on the examples and their translations.
TÃO is Portuguese for SO
- João é tão alto! = João is so tall!
Tão is an adverb of intensity. It is used with adjectives and other adverbs.
Tão is always placed before the word that it modifies.
- Este café está tão bom! = This coffee is so good! (modifies the adjective “bom”)
- Ana fala tão rápido! = Ana speaks so fast! (modifies the adverb “rápido”)
- Eu acordei tão cedo hoje. = I woke up so early today (modifies the adverb “cedo”)
TANTO is Portuguese for so much
- Ana fala tanto. = Ana speaks so much.
Tanto also is an adverb of intensity. It is used with verbs and is usually placed after the verb. Sometimes we place it before the verb inverting the direct order of the sentence. Don’t worry about it for now.
- Joana estuda tanto! = Joana studies so much! (modifies the verb “estudar”)
- Léo comeu tanto na festa! = Léo ate so much at the party! (modifies the verb “comer”)
- Eu ri tanto que minha barriga doeu. = I laughed so much that my belly hurt. (modifies the verb “rir”)
When TANTO refers to quantity: so much and so many
When tanto is used with a noun to indicate quantity, it needs to agree in gender (masculine and feminine) and number (singular and plural) with the noun that it refers to. Therefore, you have tanto, tanta, tantos, and tantas. In this case, tanto is and indefinite pronoun.
Use tanto/tanta in the singular with uncountable nouns meaning “so much”, and use tantos/tantas in the plural with countable nouns meaning “so many”. Place them before the word that they refer too. Here are examples:
- Eu coloquei tanto açúcar no café. = I put so much sugar in the coffee. (modifies the noun “açúcar”)
- Carina tem tanta paciência com todo mundo. = Carina has so much patience with everyone. (modifies the noun “paciência”)
- Clara tem tantos livros. = Clara has so many books. (modifies the noun “livros”)
- Maria tem tantas roupas. = Maria has so many clothes. (modifies the noun “clothes”)
Additional examples contrasting TÃO and TANTO in Portuguese
Below are a few more examples contrasting the use of tão and tanto:
- Mariana tem tanta sorte. = Mariana has so much luck. (“tanta” modifies the noun “sorte”)
- Mariana é tão sortuda. = Mariana is so lucky. (“tão” modifies the adjective “sortuda”)
- Marta tem tanta paciência. = Marta has so much patience. (“tanta” modifies the noun “paciência”)
- Marta é tão paciente. = Marta is so patient. (“tão” modifies the adjective “paciente”)
- Tiago tem tanto talento. = Tiago has so much talent. (“tanto” modifies the noun “talento”)
- Tiago é tão talentoso. = Tiago is so talented. (“tão” modifies the adjective “talentoso”)
- Ana fala tanto. = Ana talks so much. (“tanto” modifies the verb “falar”)
- Ana fala tão alto. = Ana talks so loudly. (“tão” modifies the adjective “alto”)
Useful expressions using TANTO/TANTA/TANTOS/TANTAS
- Tem tanta gente aqui! = There are so many people here!
- Ela tem trinta e tantos anos. = She is thirty something. (probably 35+)
- Quarenta e tantas pessoas vieram para a nossa festa ontem à noite. = Over forty people came to our party last night.
- O almoço foi servido lá pelas tantas da tarde = Lunch was served sometime late in the afternoon.
- Ontem eu vi um filme muito chato. Lá pelas tantas, as pessoas começaram a levantar e ir embora. = Yesterday I saw a very boring movie. At some point, people started to get up and leave.
- Ontem a panela de pressão explodiu. Eu tomei um susto e tanto. = Yesterday the pressure cooker exploded. I got quite a scare.
- Foi uma festa e tanto. = It was a great party.
The video for the lesson is below. It is an old video and the sound is terrible, unfortunately.
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