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 frio 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

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.


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.


Q&A

Mark

Kwiziq community member

11 January 2018

1 reply

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.

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

11 January 2018

11/01/18

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

Tamani

Kwiziq community member

10 December 2017

1 reply

Mis zapatos están muy sucios.

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

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

11 December 2017

11/12/17

Hola Tamani, Estar is also used when we talk about the physical condition of something. You can have a look here https://progress.lawlessspanish.com/revision/grammar/using-estar-not-ser-when-talking-about-physical-condition-of-something Inma : )

Tamani

Kwiziq community member

10 December 2017

1 reply

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?

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

11 December 2017

11/12/17

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.

Tamani

Kwiziq community member

10 December 2017

1 reply

He comido mucho

Could one also say 'yo he comido mucho?'

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

11 December 2017

11/12/17

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.

Sandra

Kwiziq community member

12 November 2017

1 reply

Can you include examples of muchos, muchas etc

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

12 November 2017

12/11/17

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

 

Else

Kwiziq community member

4 November 2017

1 reply

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

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

5 November 2017

5/11/17

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).
Clever stuff underway!