Other meaning of “tanto”: Italian grammar lesson 126

stefano lodola italian teacher
Italian language tutor, course author. MEng, MBA. Member of the International Association of Hyperpolyglots (HYPIA). After learning 12 languages, I can tell you that we all master languages by listening and mimicking. I couldn’t find an app to recommend to my students, so I made my own one. With my method, you’ll be speaking Italian from Lesson 1.
What makes a good method of learning a language? To me, a study method is good if it delivers results. Typically, people want to learn Italian to communicate. Thus, progress...
How long does it take to learn Italian? Is it hard? How fast you improve depends on your study method. Learn why in this honest guide by an Italian polyglot!
How to practice speaking alone? For best results, turn virtually any study time (reading, listening, writing) into speaking practice for language immersion!
Italian for beginners can be a pain to learn. Not with this polyglot's video guide with 8 solutions to get started! The best way to survive and avoid pitfalls.
Activities to improve communication skills in a foreign language shift the focus of teaching from the language itself to actually doing things in that language.
What is active recall? In the last years, there has been so much hype around active recall as it is believed to improve your study results and get you better...
Struggling with new words? An Italian polyglot has valuable advice about spaced repetition. A quick guide to memorize vocabulary fast, from pain to joy!
Struggling with listening? An Italian polyglot has valuable advice about comprehensible input. A quick guide to master any language fast. From pain to joy!
Language learning is an artificial exercise that occupies time, money, and effort that could be better spent doing language acquisition. Learn to communicate!


Dive into the versatile world of the Italian word tanto! From expressing quantities to signaling resignation, this guide unpacks the many faces of tanto and teaches you how to use it like a native. 🇮🇹✨

  • Quantity Chameleon: Tanto morphs to match gender and number as an adjective (think tanta, tanti, tante) but stays put as an adverb. Use it to amp up your “a lot” game in Italian! 📈
  • Conjunction Junction: Tanto as a conjunction is your go-to for the English “anyway” or “because.” It’s a sneaky switch from its quantity roots, but super handy for showing resignation or inevitability. 🤷‍♂️
  • Short and Sweet: In casual convo, tanto alone can express a sense of “What’s the point?” It’s the verbal shrug you didn’t know you needed. 🤔
  • Just Because: Pair tanto per with an infinitive verb when you’re doing something just for the heck of it. It’s the Italian way to say “just because” or “just to do something.” 🌀
  • Might as Well: Tanto vale is your go-to phrase for “might as well” in English. It’s perfect for those “in for a penny, in for a pound” moments. 💪
  • Set Phrases: Get cozy with set phrases like di tanto in tanto (from time to time) and ogni tanto (sometimes). They’re the seasoning that’ll spice up your Italian small talk. 🌶️
  • Hats Off: Want to show admiration in Italian? Whip out tanto di cappello and watch the impressed nods roll in. It’s like a verbal tip of the hat! 🎩
stefano lodola cover
Play Video about stefano lodola cover

What does tanto mean in Italian?

If you’ve been learning Italian for a while, you are probably already familiar with the word tantowhich can be used as both an adjective and an adverb in many types of sentences.

Usually, tanto can be translated as a lot (of), much, many, etc.

Ci sono tante verdure nel frigo.

There are a lot of vegetables in the fridge.

Ieri abbiamo lavorato tanto.

Yesterday we worked a lot.

Ci sono tanti modi diversi di suonare questo strumento.

There are many different ways of playing this instrument.

As an adjective, tanto becomes tanta, tanti, tante according to the gender and subject of what we are describing, while as an adverb, it stays the same.

What is the other meaning of tanto?

tanto per italian

What you might not know is that, in Italian, tanto can also be used as a conjunction, which is a word that connects two clauses.

Have a look at the examples below:

Non dirgli niente, tanto non ti ascolta.

Don’t tell him anything; he won’t listen anyway.

Non l’ho invitata, tanto non sarebbe mai venuta.

I did not invite her; she would never have come anyway.

You need to be careful because  tanto here has nothing to do with its original meaning! Instead, it means anyway, in any case, and it can also have a similar meaning to because.

Can tanto be used on its own?

tanto italian

Sometimes, especially in very informal contexts, Italians use tanto on its own as an answer to a question.

Perché non hai parlato con Giorgia?
Eh, tanto

Why didn’t you talk to Giorgia?
There’s no use, anyway

In this case, tanto expresses resignation, meaning that something is useless and that nothing would change it.

Perché hai smesso di studiare il Russo?
Mah, tanto

Why did you quit studying Russian?
There’s no use, anyway

Here, the speaker, by answering tanto… to the question, is transmitting the idea that there isn’t much point in studying Russian anyway. That it is not important and maybe was not taking him or her anywhere.

How to use tanto per?

just because italian

Free Guide
How to Learn Languages Fast

Another common expression that includes the word tanto is tanto per + infinitive verb.

L’ho chiamato tanto per fare.

I called him without any specific reason.

If you do something tanto per fare, it means you do it with no specific reason, just to do it (just because).

Perché ti sei tinto i capelli?
Non so, tanto per cambiare un po’.

Why did you dye your hair?
I don’t know, just to change a bit.

Sometimes, tanto per is also used on its own in very informal settings.

Perché ti sei tinto i capelli?
Così, tanto per

Why did you dye your hair?
Just because… (For no reason, really)

How to use tanto vale?

hats off italian

Another common expression with the word tanto is tanto vale + verb

This expression can be translated with the English might as well + verb.

Have a look at the following examples:

Se non lavoriamo, tanto vale uscire!

If we do not work, we might as well go out!

Se hai iniziato, tanto vale finire!

If you started, you might as well finish!

Here are also other set expressions that include the word tanto.

di tanto in tanto

from time to time

ogni tanto


tanto di cappello!

chapeau! / hats off!

Learn in the car with Think in Italian
Play Video about Learn in the car with Think in Italian

FAQs on Other meaning of “tanto”: Italian grammar lesson 126

How "tanto" can be translated?

As a lot (of), much, many and as anyway or in any case only when it acts as a conjunction.

Can tanto be used on its own?

Yes! As an answer to a question expressing resignation.

How to use tanto per?

It means just because and it's formes by tanto per + infinitive verb.

How to use tanto vale?

It translates as might as well and is formed by tanto vale + verb. 

Italian word of the day
Vorrei proprio sapere chi ha parcheggiato qui!
I’d really like to know who parked here!
Follow me to fluency​

Receive my free resources once a week together with my best offers! 

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free lesson and other resources.

Leave a Reply


Take a free lesson today!

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free lessons and other resources.

I’ll also deliver my free resources my best offers to your mailbox (opt out at any time).

Read more about Italian grammar lessons
What does come mean in Italian? Come can be translated into English as how. You’ve probably heard this word many times because it is one of the ways to ask...
What does ora che mean in Italian? Before we start with today’s post, we recommend listening to this song to get in the mood: “Ora che ho te” by Claudio...
What does come se mean in Italian? Today we’re going to focus on one of those expressions that trigger the Italian subjunctive: the Italian equivalent of as if. Don’t worry...
Try my courses for free​

Log in

Reset password or get in touch.

Not a member yet? Join today!

How long to fluency?

Find out how long it will take you to master Italian!
Get on the right track in 3 minutes.

dolce vita logo

We're already friends!

Coming from Luca and Marina?
Here's a special deal for you!
Just tell me where I should send the coupon.

50% OFF
all language resources

We're already friends!

Coming from All Language Resources?
Here's a special deal for you!
Just tell me where I should send the coupon.

50% OFF
50% OFF

To receive free resources once a week together with my best offers, just tell me where to send everything. Opt out at any time.

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free lesson and other resources.