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Quick answer
"Tanto" is an adverb which is often translated as "so much", and "un poco" is a phrase which is often translated as "a little". Learn more about the difference between "tanto" and "un poco" below.
tanto(
tahn
-
toh
)
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
1. (expressing quantity)
a. so much
Te quiero tanto.I love you so much.
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
2. (expressing quantity)
a. so much (singular)
Todavía tengo tanto trabajo para hacer. I have so much work still to do.
b. so many (plural)
Había tantos pasteles que nos llevamos algunos a casa.There were so many cakes that we took some home.
A pronoun is a word that stands in for a noun (e.g. she).
3. (expressing quantity)
a. so much (singular)
Tanto que hacer y tan poco tiempo.So much to do, so little time.
b. so many (plural)
Solo guarda una fotografía que no se necesitan tantas.Just keep one photo as you don't need so many.
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
4. (sports)
a. point
Nuestro equipo acabó el torneo con 50 tantos.Our team finished the tournament with 50 points.
b. goal
El ídolo colombiano marcó dos tantos en el primer tiempo.The Colombian star scored two goals in the first half.
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un poco(
oom
 
poh
-
koh
)
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
phrase
1. (not a big amount)
a. a little
¿Le pones azúcar al café? - Solo ponle un poco.Do you want sugar in your coffee? - Just add a little.
b. some
Ha sobrado un poco. Lo podemos cenar esta noche.There's some left. We can have it for dinner tonight.
c. a bit
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
La conocía un poco del colegio.I knew her a bit from school.
2. (not excessively)
a. a little
¿Te sentó mal lo que te dijo? - Un poco.Were you hurt by what she said? - A little.
b. a bit
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
¿Todavía te duele la cabeza? - Un poco, pero ya me siento mejor.Does your head still hurt? - A bit, but I'm feeling better now.
3. (fairly)
a. a little
Estoy un poco cansado, así que me voy a dormir la siesta.I'm a little tired, so I'm going to have a siesta.
b. a bit
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
Es un poco tarde para llamar, ¿no crees?It's a bit late to call, don't you think?
4. (to a certain extent)
a. partly
Al final no se lo dije. Un poco porque pensé que no era el momento.I didn't tell him in the end. Partly because I thought it wasn't the right time.
b. a little
Es un poco lo que pasó en España también.It's a little like what happened in Spain too.
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