"Un tanto" is an adverb that can be used with adjectives to indicate "a bit/slightly/somewhat [+ adjective]". It is a synonym of the more commonly used "un poco..."
Here are some examples:
No quiero entrar ahí; parece un lugar un tanto siniestro.I don't want to get in there; it seems like a bit of a sinister place.
Me gusta mi clase pero algunos estudiantes son un tanto revoltosos.I like my class but some some students are a bit unruly.
Marcos conduce un tanto rápido y no quiero que me lleve a casa.Marcos drives a bit fast and I don't want him to take me home.
La fiesta se puso un tanto animada después de medianoche.The party became somewhat lively after midnight.
The word "algo" can also be used to express the same concept:a bit/slightly, for example:
Mi hija es algo callada pero muy trabajadora.My daughter is a bit shy/quiet but very hardworking.
Aunque la película es algo lenta, merece la pena verla.Although the film is slightly slow, it is worth watching.
Estamos algo cansados, así que nos iremos directamente a la cama.We're somewhat tired, so we'll go straight to bed.
Don't get confused with "tanto"
when it's used as an indefinite adjective
expressing so much, so many
; when we use "un tanto"
this is not an adjective but an invariable adverb expressing a "small quantity".
Careful! The adjectives that accompany "un tanto" or "algo" still need to agree with the noun they modify:
Los azulejos están un tanto/algo desnivelados.The tiles are slightly uneven.
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