Unit 11.2

Comparative Subordinate Sentences of Equality or Equivalence

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Introduction

The subordinate clause [oración subordinada] is a compound sentence structurally dependent on another sentence’s nucleus, called the main sentence [oración principal].

There are three types of subordinate clauses: noun, adjective (or relative clauses) and adverbial [sustantivas, adjetivas (o de relativo) y adverbiales].

Comparative adverbial subordinate clauses [oraciones subordinadas adverbiales comparativas] indicate a comparison of equality, inferiority or superiority [igualdad, inferioridad o superioridad] concerning what is expressed in the main sentence, to which they are connected through nexuses. Comparative subordinate clauses of equality or equivalence [oraciones subordinadas comparativas de igualdad o equivalencia] indicate equality concerning what is expressed in the main sentence.

Form

Comparative subordinate clauses of equality or equivalence can begin with several nexuses:

  • tan…como is an invariable form and is used with nouns with determiner or subject pronouns:
    … + tan + adjective / adverb + como + noun with determiner / subject pronoun;
  • tanto/-a/-os/-as… como is a variable form, so the word tanto agrees in gender and number with the noun to which it refers. It is used with nouns with determiner or subject pronouns:
    … + tanto/-a/-os/-as + noun + como + noun with determiner / subject pronoun;
  • tanto… como is an invariable form that follows verbs. It is used with nouns with determiner or subject pronouns:
    … + verb + tanto como + noun with determiner/subject pronoun.

Example

  • Ellos solos llamaron a la policía. Los hijos son tan traviesos como el padre;
  • Estaba tan grave como para llevarle en ambulancia;
  • Tanto las monedas como los billetes son una forma de dinero;
  • La Seguridad Social es tanto para los niños como para los adultos;
  • Este niño gobierna en casa tanto como un dictador;
  • Este año no creo que pueda salir a la calle tanto como me hubiera gustado.

Use

Comparative subordinate clauses of equality or equivalence are used to indicate equality concerning what is expressed in the main sentence and to compare two terms on an equal footing:

  • tan… como is used to compare qualities when there is equality between the terms;
  • tanto/-a/-os/-as… como used to compare quantity of objects;
  • tanto… como used to compare frequency or intensity between actions.

Summary

The comparative sentence of equality is used to put two terms in a comparison of equality.

In Spanish, the structures of the comparative sentence of equality are:
… + tan + adjective/adverb + como + …;
… + tanto/a/os/as + noun + como + …;
… + verb + tanto como + …

For example:

— «La hija es tan rubia como el padre» = used to express equality of a quality (ser rubio);

— «Tanto el padre como la hija son rubios» = used to express that both people (padre e hija) have a quality;

— «No vamos a poder salir tanto como nos gustaría» = used to express intensity of what we would like.

Check the contents of the {Form} section. Then move on to the {Example} section, which shows you the usage in context.

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