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8.9: Comparaciones

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    Compare two things using comparative expressions

    Comparativos de igualdad

    ¿What grammatical structures do we use to compare two people or things that have equal or similar qualities? In English we use the formula “as” + adjective/adverb + “as.” Here is the formula and some examples in Spanish:

    Tan + (adjetivo/adverbio) + como

    From an ad campaign for Spain: “España: Tan singular como plural”
    • Play AudioUn enfermero es tan importante como un médico. (A nurse is as important as a doctor.)
    • Play AudioGina Rodríguez actúa tan bien como America Ferrera. (Gina Rodriguez acts just as well as America Ferrera.)

    Spanish and English follow a similar pattern for adjectives and adverbs but comparing nouns is different. The formula is similar, but now instead of “tan” we use the word “tanto”. “Tanto” is functioning as an adjective and as we learned in Unidad 2, adjectives need to agree in gender and in number with the nouns that they modify. Therefore, the formula is as follows:

    tanto + (masculine singular noun) + como
    tanta + (feminine singular noun) + como
    tantos + (masculine plural noun) + como
    tantas + (feminine plural noun) + como
    • Play AudioEl músico tiene tantos instrumentos como el cantante. (The musician has as many instruments as the singer.)
    • Play AudioEl ingeniero tiene tantas máquinas como el mecánico. (The engineer has as many machines as the mechanic.)
    • Play AudioEl trabajador social tiene tanta paciencia como el psicólogo. (The social worker has as much patience as the psychologist.)

    To compare two actions, the structure is simply:

    (Verbo) + tanto como

    • Play AudioYo corro tanto como un futbolista. (I run as much as a soccer player.)
    • Play AudioLos bomberos se sientan a esperar tanto como apagan incendios. (Firefighters sit around waiting as much as they fight fires.)

    Comparativos de desigualdad

    In English, we typically add “-er” to an adjective and combine it with the word “than” to make unequal comparisons between two items. But if we have an adjective with more than two syllables in English we have to add “more.”

    This is similar to Spanish where you always add “más” (more) in front of the adjective, the quality that is the point of comparison. However, we do not need to limit ourselves to saying “más”, we can also use “menos”. And instead of “than” we’ll use “que”. ¡Ojo! There’s no accent mark on “que” in comparisons, these are not questions. Therefore, the formula for comparisons of inequality is as follows:

    más + (adjective) + que
    menos + (adjective) + que

    As always, there are no hard-and-fast grammar rules: there are some irregular adjectives when making comparisons.

    joven: menor (younger)
    viejo: mayor (older)


    • Play AudioEva Longoria es más baja que Jennifer Lopez. (Eva Longoria is shorter than Jennifer Lopez.)
    • Play AudioCamila Cabello es menor que mi hermano menor. (Camila Cabello is younger than my younger brother.)

    The same formula works for adverbs as well in comparisons of inequality:

    más + (adverb) + que
    menos + (adverb) + que

    And of course, there are some “irregular” adverbs when making comparisons.

    bien: mejor (better)
    mal: peor (worse)


    • Play AudioYo ahorro dinero más lentamente que mi hermana. (I save money slower than my sister.)
    • Play AudioEsa peluquera me corta el pelo peor que mi mamá. (That hairdresser cuts my hair worse than my mother.)

    Nouns are compared in the same way:

    más + (noun) + que
    + (noun) + que


    • Play AudioRita Moreno tiene más premios que Sofía Vergara. (Rita Moreno has more awards than Sofia Vergara.)
    • Play AudioLa enfermera estudia menos años que la médica. (The nurse studies for fewer years than the doctor.)

    For inequality with verbs, be sure to switch the order of the words, as below:

    verbo + más que
    verbo + menos que


    • Play AudioElla camina más que yo. (She walks more than I do.)
    • Play AudioLa secretaria cobra menos que la abogada. (The secretary charges less than the lawyer.)

    When we compare nouns with numbers, using the number as a reference point for the more or less statement, we switch the “que” to “de”.

    más de + número
    menos de + número


    • Play AudioCristiano Ronaldo debe tener más de 10.000 zapatos. (Cristiano Ronaldo should have more than 10,000 shoes.)
    • Play AudioNo puedo comprarlo, tengo menos de 10 dólares. (I can’t buy it, I have less than 10 dollars.)




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    This page titled 8.9: Comparaciones is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Ana Gómez de Torres and Claudia Díaz via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform.