"Él no es tan alto."
Translation:He is not that tall.
In (American) English, "He isn't very tall", "He isn't that tall", "He isn't too tall", and "He isn't so tall" all (frequently, maybe even usually) mean the same thing. The point is that when saying '<NOUN> isn't very <ADJECTIVE>', the meaning of "very" actually changes, albeit subtley. Is this the case in Spanish as well?
The word "too" is slightly different, typically meaning that he isn't beyond the what something should be, e.g. Is that too much sugar? That isn't too sweet? It is beyond a certain level that is expected, average or acceptable. In this example, he is "too tall for the ride" - which makes him beyond the tolerable limit. You wouldn't say "very tall" or "so tall". It is a general statement - he is not so tall. He is not very tall. Thus it implies he is slightly above average or average, not extremely tall.
I'm not sure that "very" is such a great departure from "so" since they are so close so as to be practically indistinguishable. Both are used to imply that something is not to an extreme, e.g. the coffee is not so sweet. The coffee is not very sweet. Thus the coffee is sweet or less. And if you said "the coffee is not too sweet" it still can be very sweet - but not to the excess where it is unacceptable.
Wow, elabogado; thanks for having a go at explaining that. The semantics are quite subtle. That = tan, in this context, is the point here.
The discussion we are having isn't directly relevant to the translation as they mean different things. Can "too" mean "very"? Are they synonyms? I don't think they are, exactly - as well as your examples, how about the sentences: 1. "The room was too full" and 2. "The room was very full"? Neither room has spare capacity, but "very" suggests no space; whereas "too" indicates overcrowding. So there is a difference. On balance, I think you are right. 1. "No es demasiado alto." or "La habitación estaba demasiado lleno" 2. "Él no es muy alto." or "La habitación estaba muy lleno". Enough, already!!
OK - but I still don't see any difference between "he is not that tall" and "he is not too tall."
"He is not very tall" implies comparison against a persons general knowledge of hight (or their serotype about average/general hight). It is nearly always a negative statment.
"He is not so tall" implies context of a previously mentioned but unspecific hight. Ie. 1st person; "He is very tall". 2nd person upon meeting 'him'; "He is not so tall". Can be either a negative or positive statment
"He is not that tall" implies either; 1. Context of a more specific hight. Ie. 1st person; "He is six foot". 2nd person; "He is not that tall". This can be a positive or negative statement. 2. A hight requirement hasnt been met. Mostly a negative statment. (This is actually a case of specific hight context as well)
"He is not too tall" is can be a case of specific hight or a more general specific preference (ie. He is not too tall 'for me'"). This is nearly always a positive statment.
To finish up. In English, so, that, very and too, are not all always interchangeable any only are when meaning (positive or negative) is not contradicted (Although meaning might be lost when going for an always positive statment to a negative statment). This means that for this statment you can always swap 'very' or 'too' for 'so' or 'that' but you cannot always swap 'so' or 'that' for 'very' or 'too'.
So for this statment in english. '///' = cannot be swapped; '/' = only can be swapped on occasion. Meaning may be lost or gained but not contradicted. Very -----> so Very -----> that Very -///-> too So --/--> very So -----> that So --/--> too That --/--> very That --/--> so That --/--> too Too -///-> very Too -----> so Too -----> that
Obviously this whole post is about english speaking and meaning given. And it is not about translating that sentance. This is because I do not know which meanings are applicable or where contradictions may arrise in spanish. I am a british english speaker and I posted this extravaganza after I saw people saying that these are interchangeable, when this is only sometimes the case.
TLDR; always use 'THAT' when using this kind of sentance and give meaning (positive or negative) through tone of voice.
The way I see it, "he's not very tall" would insinuate he's a bit short. Saying "he's not so tall" doesn't necessarily mean he's not tall. For instance, a guy is 6'0 tall but another guy is 6'7, so you might say "guy 1 isn't so tall; my friend is 6'7 (even though 6'0 is still tall).
"He is not very tall" is not the same as "He is not that tall". The former is usually a generalized statement while the latter is usually spoken in a specific sense. For example, if someone tells you their boyfriend is really tall like a giant and when you see him he's like 5'10", most people would say "he is not THAT tall" refers to the person's previous statement.
In spanish 'alto' may mean 'tall' or 'high,' but in English, high doesn't refer to how 'tall' a person is -- only a concept of height in position. High buildings, mountains, clouds, plants, even. Tall may refer to buildings, mountains, plants, too, but people are only 'high' if they are using illegal substances.
Kind of. People can be high without being on drugs too, instead they may be standing on something tall, or flying on a plane.
Barring drug abuse, the difference between "high" and "tall" is REALLY the difference between "altitude" and "vertical length". Maybe an hiker staring out from atop a cliff says to a friend: "Wow, we are really high right now."
I believe you have misspelled the words "phrase" and "phrases" in your question. We do not have the words "frase" or "frases".
To me, and to google translate, you can translate "Él no es tan alto" as "He is not that tall" or "He is not so tall."
You definitely can translate "Él no es muy alto" as "He is not very tall." But, you may or not be able to translate it as "He is not that tall" depending on context. Usually it would be okay, but nuances could make a difference. Still, most native English speakers wouldn't correct you, I think, because the difference might be indistinguishable.
In English in this situation would 'very' or 'that' not be interchangeable? I am pretty sure they would in common usage of language so in this circumstance you could say:
He is not that tall He is not very tall
It would mean the same thing even though your using two different words..?
Yes. It might mean 'all that' tall. Or as in the previous examples where unstated comparisons are being made (my 6' 7" friend, my 6' foot friend is tall, but not 'that' tall). So this is just to get you used to hearing and thinking this phrase. Like when a baby learns 'run' they later learn various unstated extensions of the meaning. -- cars 'run', we 'run' a machine, ... etc.