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Rachel: Hai bisogno di qualcosa dal supermercato?
Carlotta: No, no, dai, non ti preoccupare.
Rachel: Macché! Tanto, oggi vado al supermercato comunque.
Have you ever heard an expression like the one above that starts with “tanto?” You might already know that “tanto” means “a lot” but obviously in this case, that translation doesn’t make much sense. I hear all the time that this sentence structure is confusing! So what does “tanto” mean when used this way? It’s simple, so let me demystify it for you.
In this example, “tanto” is used a bit like, “really,” “anyways,” or “as” in English. So for example, in the previous dialogue, the conversation might have looked something like this:
Rachel: Do you need something from the supermarket?
Carlotta: No, no, come on, don’t worry about it.
Rachel: Nonsense! Really, I was going to the supermarket today regardless.
Other Examples of “Tanto”
1.) Non abbiamo fretta, tanto andiamo in macchina ci metteremo al massimo 5 minuti.
2.) Tanto anche se piangi non otterrai niente!
3.) Non ti preoccupare se si è rotto, tanto era un oggetto vecchissimo.
4.) Non importa quanto ti ha fatto arrabbiare, tanto appena ti chiama corri ai suoi piedi!
5.) Provaci tu, ma tanto non funziona.
6.) Ho provato a dirglielo in tutti i modi ma è inutile, tanto non vuole ascoltarmi!
7.) Perchè piangi? Tanto ormai il guaio è fatto!
Using “tanto” like this is a very common expression, but at times it’s difficult to translate for English speakers since the definition isn’t precise. However, thinking about it in terms of “anyways”, “as” or “really” in English can help you make sense of everyday conversations in Italy.
Another Way to Use Tanto
When the nouns of a sentence are the same, you use il comparativo di ugualianza, or the comparative of equality.
To do this, you can use a few different forms:
— (così)…come – This is used for adjectives and adverbs; così is in parenthesis because you don’t always have to add it.
— (tanto)…quanto – This is used for nouns or adverbs; tanto is in parenthesis because you don’t always have to add it.
— La torta al cioccolato è (tanto) buona come la torta alla vaniglia. – The chocolate cake is as good as the vanilla cake.
— I ragazzi giocano (tanto) a calcio quanto a basket. – The kids play just as much soccer as they do basketball.
Special thanks to The Creative Impostor Studios for producing this show, to Patreon supporters for helping fund the show, and to the lovely Timarie Harrison for putting all of the pieces together. It takes a village.
DID YOU KNOW…?
We have a program called the Pronouns Challenge that helps you get better at using… you guessed it… pronouns in Italian. And beato/a te, you get 20% off just by being a listener of the podcast. To claim that discount, enter the code ‘LISTENER’ at checkout.
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