Do you struggle with knowing when to use muy and mucho?
These two words tend to cause an awful lot of confusion among Spanish students.
Both muy and mucho are widely used among native Spanish speakers so it is important you learn not only to differentiate them, but also how to use them correctly.
As complicating as certain grammar rules may seem when it comes to Spanish, in this case they are quite simple and the following rules will help eliminate any doubts.
Muy vs. Mucho | Key Rules
Muy is an adverb that means “very” in English.
An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, another adverb, an adjective, or a phrase or sentence. But NOT a noun.
An adverb typically answers the question “how,” “in what way,” “when,” “where,” and “to what extent?”
You’re going to love this: Muy has NO masculine, feminine, singular, or plural form! This means muy was, is, and will always be muy, no matter what.
Muy + Adjective
Hispanics love to emphasize EVERYTHING so it’s a good idea to have muy on your side.
Muy is a sucker for company as it ALWAYS needs to be accompanied by an adjective or an adverb.
Let’s look at a few examples using this formula.
Esta comida está muy rica. => This food is very tasty.
Ella es muy graciosa. => She is very funny.
Ese barrio es muy peligroso. => That neighborhood is very dangerous.
Muy + Adverb
This one is pretty straight forward.
Sabes cocinar muy bien. => You know how to cook very well.
José habla muy claro. => José speaks very clearly.
You have probably heard mucho in expressions like mucho gusto (nice to meet you) and muchas gracias (thank you).
As you know, mucho goes far beyond those boundaries. Mucho is a two-faced word: it can be used as an adjective or as an adverb.
Mucho means a lot, a lot of, and much or many in English.
Mucho – The Adjective
An adjective is a word that modifies a noun.
This means that when mucho is used as an adjective, it will have to match the noun in number (singular, plural) and genre (feminine, masculine).
Consequently, there are four possible scenarios:
- Mucho – singular masculine => a lot, a lot of, much
- Mucha – singular feminine => a lot, a lot of, much
- Muchos – plural masculine => a lot, a lot of, many
- Muchas – plural feminine => a lot, a lot of, many
Mucho + Noun
This one can’t get any simpler…. That is as long as you don’t forget to match the number and genre.
Here are a few examples of this formula.
Hay mucha gente en el banco. => There are a lot of people at the bank.
Mi madre cocina mucha comida durante las fiestas. => My mother cooks a lot of food during the holidays.
Hoy hace mucho frío. => It is very cold today.
Mucho – The Adverb
Verb + Mucho
When mucho is used as an adverb, it’s always the same. There is no change in gender and number and it’s placed after the verb it modifies.
Let’s look at a few examples.
En verano hace mucho calor. => It’s very hot in the summer.
Te quiero mucho. => I love you a lot.
Laura está cansada porque trabaja mucho. => Laura is tired because she works a lot.
When Mucho is not Enough
As I previously mentioned, Hispanics are masters of the art of exaggeration.
When you liked the food your mother-in-law prepared for you “mucho” and you get disappointing looks, it’s time to turn it up a notch.
Use muchísimo to emphasize that something is more than a lot, many, or very.
¡La cena me gustó muchísimo! => I liked dinner very, very much!
Tuve muchísima suerte este año. => I was very, very lucky this year.
La película tuvo muchísimo éxito. => The movie was extremely successful.
El árbol tiene muchísimas manzanas. => The tree has lots and lots of apples.
Esa universidad tiene muchísimos alumnos. => That university has many, many students.
Summing Up Muy vs. Mucho…
Muy + Adjective
El gato es muy lindo. => The cat is very cute.
Muy + Adverb
Cocinas muy bien. => You cook very well.
Mucho, Muchos, Mucha, Muchas + Noun
Compré muchos lápices. => I bought many pencils.
Comió muchas mandarinas. => He/She ate many mandarins.
Verb + Mucho
Juan protesta mucho. => Juan complains a lot.
Read the following sentences at loud and complete them with muy, mucho, mucha, muchos o muchas!
Challenge completed! Well done!
CEO of The Spanish Tribe