Using muy versus mucho (intensifiers)

In Spanish, just as in English, we use different words to add intensity (very) or express large quantities (a lot of, much, many) = muy and mucho.

Have a look at the distinction between muy and mucho.

Muy [adjective] / [adverb] = very [adjective] / [adverb]

Mi hermana es muy alta.
My sister is very tall.

Mis zapatos están muy sucios.
My shoes are very dirty.

Él habla muy despacio.
He speaks very slowly.

Vosotros habláis español muy bien.
You speak Spanish very well.

 

Note that to express very, you use muy together with an adjective (very tall) or another adverb (very well).

 

Muy never changes and you can never use it on its own


Mucho 
a lot / much 

He comido mucho.
I ate a lot.

Mi hijo está muy cansado porque estudió mucho.
My son is very tired because he studied a lot.

Note that to express [to do something] a lot / much, you use [verb] mucho.

Mucho + [masculine singular noun] = a lot of / much [masculine singular noun]

Tenemos mucho trabajo.
We have a lot of work.

Hay mucho pan en la mesa.
There is a lot of bread on the table.

Pon mucho chocolate en el postre.

Put a lot of chocolate in the dessert.

Note that to express a lot of / many / much, you use mucho + [masculine singular noun].

 

In the case of mucho as an adjective, it will change depending on the gender and number of the noun it refers to = mucho, mucha, muchos, muchas.
See Using demasiado, bastante, suficiente, poco, tanto and mucho to express quantity (quantitative adjectives)


Case of Hace mucho calor/frío (It is very hot/cold)

Hace mucho calor.
It is very hot.

Hace mucho frío.
It is very cold.

Why not muy here? Simply because the words calor and frío are not adjectives in Spanish, but nouns! Literally, you say It does much heat/coolness. Therefore, you need to use mucho and not muy!

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Hace mucho calor.
It is very hot.


Hace mucho frío.
It is very cold.


Estoy muy cansado.
I'm very tired.


Mi hijo está muy cansado porque estudió mucho.
My son is very tired because he studied a lot.


Él habla muy despacio.
He speaks very slowly.


Mi hermana es muy alta.
My sister is very tall.


He comido mucho.
I ate a lot.


Tengo mucho dinero.
I have a lot of money.


Tenemos mucho trabajo.
We have a lot of work.


Vosotros habláis español muy bien.
You speak Spanish very well.


Hay mucho pan en la mesa.
There is a lot of bread on the table.


Mis zapatos están muy sucios.
My shoes are very dirty.


Pon mucho chocolate en el postre.

Put a lot of chocolate in the dessert.


Q&A Forum 8 questions, 10 answers

BoA1

Alberto llora ________ a menudo.

I don't understand why I am told that it should be "Alberto llora MUY a menudo".  

Everything; the lesson included; tells me it should be "mucho".

Asked 3 weeks ago
InmaKwiziq language super star

Hola Bo

In the lesson there is a note saying that to express "very" (muy) it must go with an adjective or an adverb. In this case, "a menudo" is an adverb meaning "often". It works the same way it does in English: "Alberto llora muy a menudo" (not "mucho a menudo"); Alberto cries very often (not "a lot often")

I hope this clarified it for you.

Saludos

Inma

Alberto llora ________ a menudo.

I don't understand why I am told that it should be "Alberto llora MUY a menudo".  

Everything; the lesson included; tells me it should be "mucho".

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Question about masc agua using fem. for mucha agua

I was just reading over the questions, and wondered about this one:

"with some adjectives like mucho/mucha, hambre would take the feminine form (mucha hambre). It works the same way as the word "agua": (el agua caliente, but mucha agua caliente)"

Is there a rule and  lesson that covers this? It certainly is a curious phenomena.

Nicole

Asked 1 month ago

Actually agua and hambre are feminine, but they often take masculine articles for pronunciation reasons, as explained in this lesson:

https://spanish.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/feminine-nouns-starting-with-a-stressed-a-take-masculine-articles-and-quantifiers

Hello Alan,

Thank you so much.  I'm impressed with the rapidity of your reply. 

I studied the lesson you referred me to. It is quite interesting how there is still the "double a" in "mucha hambre" which is being avoided in: "el hambre- un hambre".  Is there some rule here that I am missing?  Or does it have to do with the length of the term used  i.e.: "mucha", which would not detract from stressing the "a" in "hambre".  Hope this makes sense.  Thanks again. 

It's only a problem when both "a" sounds are stressed. In mucha the stress is on the first syllable.

Question about masc agua using fem. for mucha agua

I was just reading over the questions, and wondered about this one:

"with some adjectives like mucho/mucha, hambre would take the feminine form (mucha hambre). It works the same way as the word "agua": (el agua caliente, but mucha agua caliente)"

Is there a rule and  lesson that covers this? It certainly is a curious phenomena.

Nicole

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Tengo mucho hambre

When I write "Tengo mucho hambre" in the quiz it says I am wrong and I have to use "Tengo mucha hambre". Can you explain why? Thanks.
Asked 5 years ago
InmaKwiziq language super star
Hi Mark Hambre (hunger) takes the masculine singular articles "el" and "un" (el hambre- un hambre) but with some adjectives like mucho/mucha, hambre would take the feminine form (mucha hambre). It works the same way as the word "agua": (el agua caliente, but mucha agua caliente). I understand this may be confusing so we will change that specific question. I hope this clarified your doubt. Inma

Tengo mucho hambre

When I write "Tengo mucho hambre" in the quiz it says I am wrong and I have to use "Tengo mucha hambre". Can you explain why? Thanks.

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TamaniA1

Mis zapatos están muy sucios.

I thought estar was used with a location. Why isn't ser used here?
Asked 6 years agoHow to tell time inFrench
InmaKwiziq language super star
Hola Tamani, Estar is also used when we talk about the physical condition of something. You can have a look here https://spanish.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/using-estar-not-ser-when-talking-about-physical-condition-of-something Inma : )

Mis zapatos están muy sucios.

I thought estar was used with a location. Why isn't ser used here?

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TamaniA1

Hoy tengo mucho sueño

In the quiz I chose 'Hoy tengo muy sueño,' because sueño is not a noun and 'very sleepy' seemed much like 'very often.' Why is muy incorrect here?
Asked 6 years ago
InmaKwiziq language super star
Hola Tamani The literal translation of 'Hoy tengo mucho sueño' is ´Today I have a lot of sleepiness'. So, as sleepiness (sueño) is a noun, we need to use mucho, not muy. Because it is always translated as 'I am very sleepy' which is the English equivalent, it can be a little bit confusing as sleepy is an adjective. I hope this clarified your doubt.

Hoy tengo mucho sueño

In the quiz I chose 'Hoy tengo muy sueño,' because sueño is not a noun and 'very sleepy' seemed much like 'very often.' Why is muy incorrect here?

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TamaniA1

He comido mucho

Could one also say 'yo he comido mucho?'
Asked 6 years ago
InmaKwiziq language super star
Yes, you can indeed. In Spanish we tend to omit personal pronouns though, as it is clear from the verb ending who is doing the action.

He comido mucho

Could one also say 'yo he comido mucho?'

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Can you include examples of muchos, muchas etc

Asked 7 years ago
InmaKwiziq language super star

Hola Sandra,

As this lesson is more about the difference between "muy" and "mucho" we haven't added examples of mucho in all its forms. You can find more explanation and examples of this here: 

https://spanish.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/using-demasiado-bastante-poco-mucho-to-express-too-much-of-enough-of-few-many-quantitative-adjectives

 

Can you include examples of muchos, muchas etc

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Note that to express [to do something] a lot / much, you use [verb] mucho

Hi - This text appears above in the info on MUCHO - I think it should be adverb? from Else
Asked 7 years ago
InmaKwiziq language super star
Hola Else, When it says ...you use [verb] mucho, it is referring to the sentence structure, so "mucho" follows a verb, not that "mucho" is a verb. For example "Yo como mucho" (I eat a lot), or "Lola entrena mucho" (Lola trains a lot).

Note that to express [to do something] a lot / much, you use [verb] mucho

Hi - This text appears above in the info on MUCHO - I think it should be adverb? from Else

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