Confusing French Pairs Tant vs Autant

Couple standing outdoors sharing a meal from a food truck
Hero Images/Getty Images

The French words tant and autant are both adverbs of quantity, but their meanings and uses are different. Autant means as much/many and is usually used in comparisons. Tant means so much/many and tends to be used to intensify. Take a look at the following summary table for more details.  

TANT - So much, many

AUTANT - As much, many

Tant and autant (que) modify verbs.
Il a déjà tant fait. Faites autant que vous pouvez.
- He has already done so much. - Do as much as you can.
Il travaille tant ! Je travaille toujours autant.
- He works so much!
- I work as much as always.
Tant de and autant de modify nouns.
Il a tant d'amis. Il a autant d'amis que toi.
- He has so many friends. - He has as many friends as you.
Ta maison a tant d'espace ! Ma maison a autant d'espace.
- Your house has so much space!
- My house has as much space (as this one).
Tant (que) intensifies, while autant que equalizes.
Il a tant mangé qu'il est malade. Il a mangé autant que toi.
- He ate so much that he's sick. - He ate as much as you.
J'ai tant lu que j'ai mal aux yeux. C'est pour lui autant que pour toi.
- I read so much that my eyes hurt. - It's for him as much as for you.
J'ai dû partir, tant j'étais fatigué. Il est sympathique autant qu'intelligent.
- I had to leave since I was so tired.
- He is as nice as he is intelligent.
Tant que can also mean while, as long as, or since.
Tant que tu habiteras ici, tu m'obéiras.
- As long as you live here, you will obey me.
Tant que tu es là, cherche mes lunettes.
- As long as / since you're here, look for my glasses.
Tant can replace autant in a negative or interrogative sentence.
Je n'ai pas mangé tant que toi. J'ai mangé autant que toi.
- I didn't eat as much as you. - I ate as much as you.
A-t-il tant d'amis que toi ? Il a autant d'amis que toi.
- Does he have as many friends as you?
- He has as many friends as you.
Tant can express an indefinite quantity.
Il fait tant par jour...
- He does so much (x amount) per day...
tant pour cent
- such and such a percent

Expressions 

en tant que as, like autant... autant as... as
tant bien que mal as best one can autant que possible as much as possible
tant et plus a lot c'est autant de that's ... at least
tant et si bien que so much so that comme autant de like so many
tant il est vrai que since, as d'autant accordingly, in proportion
tant mieux so much the better d'autant mieux even / all the better
tant pis never mind, too bad d'autant moins even less
tant qu'à may as well D'autant plus ! All the more reason!
tant s'en faut far from it d'autant plus... que all the more so
tant soit peu remotely, at all en... autant the same
pour autant for all that
pour autant que je sache as far as I know