I think of it as a hierarchy:
tanto: so many
troppo: too many
Even when "tanto" seems to just mean "many", it still has a connotation of being more substantial than just many. There are probably many circumstances in which either could be used. I also think of "tanto" as a "dramatic" many. It really gives a nice edge to the concept of "a lot" - the difference between, "there are a lot of people here" and "Gosh, there are a lot of people here".
There's a very subjective difference between the phrases 'many' and 'so many' in Italian. That said,
molto is generally translated as 'many' and
tanto is generally translated as 'so many.' Hope this helps!
Anyone else think "I see lots of people at the station" should be ok. If not, can anyone explain why?
The difference is very subtle... «molta gente» means "lots of people" while «tanta gente» means "so many people," where the latter one sounds more like an emphasis perhaps of exasperation.
Should be accepted. I wrote "I see a lot of people at the station" and it was accepted. "lots of people" should be fine.
I am curious why here 'tanta gente' is used and not 'tante persone'. What is the difference?
No difference in meaning; the only difference is in the words and the number («gente» = singular, while «persone» = plural).
When "stazione" is used, do Italians understand it to mean anything in particular? In American English, we'd usually specify "bus/train/subway station"
Si, come la statione americana a Chattanooga! "There's gonna be A certain party at the station. Satin and lace, I used to call "funny face". She's gonna cry Until I tell her that I'll never roam. So Chattanooga choo choo Won't you choo-choo me home?" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XQybKMXL-k
Sempre dicono I italiani, "La stazione ferroviaria" o "la stazione degli autobus"?
[Correct my grammar, please, if necessary.]
In Italian, it is not "bus station" but, like in English, "bus stop": «la fermata dell'autobus». Although I cannot speak for native Italian speakers, I would say that they do not always specify as a native Romance language (Portuguese) speaker. In fact, I think that if you just say «stazione», it is understood that that means train station, especially since «fermata» is for buses and, I think, «la metro[politana]» is subway.
I think we need a native Italian, not just a speaker, to answer this question. A context query returned the following for "bus station":
stazione degli autobus
stazione di autobus
stazione dei pullman
stazione dei bus
fermata del bus
fermata degli autobus
stazioni dei bus
Also, a "bus stop" in the US is any place where passengers can wait to be picked up by a bus. Many are marked as such by a sign, but not all. A "bus station" is usually a dedicated building with facilities and employees for handling baggage, purchasing tickets, displaying timetables, with a waiting area for passengers.
:O Wow, it might be regional then. Idk. Where are the native Italian speakers?