Should you use mucho or muy? Do you know how to say the Spanish words muy and mucho in English? What is the difference between muy vs. mucho in Spanish?
Simply put, muy in English would be "very" or "really," while mucho in English means "many," "much," or "a lot." However, as these words can wear muchos sombreros (a lot of hats), muy vs. mucho can be un concepto muy difícil (a very difficult concept) for many English speakers.
When muy is accompanied by an adjective, the adjective that modifies the noun must agree with that noun in terms of gender and number. The "good news," however, is that the word muy itself always stays the same, regardless of whether the noun it modifies is singular or plural or masculine or feminine. Let's take a look:
es un artista plástico español muy reconocido.
is a very famous fine art artist.
Caption 14, Amaya - Vínculo: un mural muy especialPlay Caption
¡estos plátanos son muy pequeños!
these bananas are very small!Play Caption
Es una ciudad muy linda que tiene un cri'... clima primaveral.
It's a very beautiful city that has a spri'... spring-like climate.
Caption 47, Cleer - Entrevista con JackyPlay Caption
Las ranas son definitivamente las mejores maestras en salto.
Frogs are definitely the best jumping masters.
Pero son muy vanidosas.
But they're very full of themselves.
Captions 22-23, Guillermina y Candelario - Una Amiga muy PresumidaPlay Caption
Just to reiterate, although the adjectives are singular or plural and masculine or feminine, in agreement with their corresponding nouns, the word muy always remains the same.
The word muy in Spanish also remains the same when accompanying an adverb, which modifies a verb, as in the following examples:
Con un poco de práctica, podremos aprender estas reglas muy fácilmente.
With a bit of practice, we will be able to learn these rules very easily.Play Caption
Kristen, por ejemplo, tú has dicho, muy rápidamente,
Kristen, for example, you've said, very quickly,
Caption 11, Clase Aula Azul - Pedir deseosPlay Caption
When constructing or understanding sentences with muy in Spanish, how will you know whether you are contending with an adjective or an adverb? When you see a word that ends with the suffix -mente (equivalent to -ly in English), as in the examples above, you can be sure you have an adverb. However, as not all adverbs take this form and some words can function as either adjectives or adverbs, depending upon the context, it can sometimes be tough to tell the difference. Let's take a look at an example with the word rápido, which may be used as an adverb in lieu of rápidamente:
porque lo hacen muy rápido.
because they do it very quickly.Play Caption
Like the English word "fast," rápido can function as an adjective when describing a noun (e.g. un carro rápido/a fast car) or an adverb when describing an action (el carro va rápido/the car goes fast) to talk about something that happens "fast" or "quickly." The tricky aspect of this is that, while rápido would need to agree in terms of gender and number when employed as an adjective (e.g. unos carros rápidos), as an adverb, it remains the same (in its masculine singular form) regardless of the number of people or objects performing the action. Let's see one more example:
Vamos a trabajar muy fuerte.
We're going to work very hard.Play Caption
Note that as always, the word muy is unchanging, and because fuerte (strong, hard, etc.) works as an adverb here, it remains unchanged, in its singular form, as well. Were it an adjective, on the other hand, gender and number would need to be taken into account, as in the example "Somos muy fuertes" (We are very strong).
Moving on to the word mucho in Spanish, taking into account what we have learned thus far regarding adjectives and adverbs, let's examine how this word can function as either of these parts of speech. To start, when mucho functions as an adjective, it must agree in terms of number and gender with the noun it modifies. Let's look:
¿Sí? No tengo mucho tiempo libre ahora.
Right? I don't have a lot of free time now.
Caption 20, Clase Aula Azul - Pedir deseosPlay Caption
La verdad es que yo he tenido muchos perros,
The truth is that I've had many dogs,
Caption 50, Tu Voz Estéreo - LauraPlay Caption
En Málaga, hay mucha gente con tus mismos síntomas.
In Malaga, there are a lot of people with your same symptoms.
Caption 20, Ariana - Cita médicaPlay Caption
A muchas personas les gusta ir de vacaciones allí
A lot of people like to go on vacation there
Caption 22, El Aula Azul - Adivina el paísPlay Caption
As you can see in these examples that employ masculine singular/plural and feminine singular/plural nouns, the form mucho takes (mucho, muchos, mucha, or muchas) changes in accordance with the noun it modifies.
In contrast, when mucho functions as an adverb, modifying a verb, it is always mucho in the singular/masculine form, and the gender/quantity of the noun or verb has no effect on it. Let's look at some examples:
¿Se utiliza mucho el ajo en los platos peruanos?
Is garlic used a lot in Peruvian dishes?
Caption 19, Recetas de cocina - Papa a la HuancaínaPlay Caption
Estos ejercicios ayudan mucho
These exercises really help
Caption 59, Bienestar con Elizabeth - RelajaciónPlay Caption
Me gusta mucho este parque.
I really like this park.Play Caption
Sí, me gustan mucho las uvas.
Yes, I like grapes a lot.Play Caption
To conclude our discussion on muy vs. mucho, note that the word mucho and its corresponding feminine/plural alternatives can be used as pronouns to replace nouns that have been mentioned or implied. Notice that the pronoun forms of mucho must agree in gender and number with the nouns they replace, as follows:
¿Se encuentran aquí buenas cositas o no,
Can you find good stuff here or not,
buenas gangas? -Sí, sí, sí. -¿Sí? -Muchas.
good bargains? -Yes, yes, yes. -Yes? -Many.
Captions 102-103, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 14Play Caption
Sí. -¿Que mucha más gente viene ahora?
Yes. -That a lot more people come now?
Sí, mucha. -Yo tengo un niño pequeño entonces...
Yes, a lot. -I have a small child so...
Captions 43-44, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 16Play Caption
Puedes ver que no tenemos muchos
You can see that we don't have many
porque hemos vendido últimamente bastantes.
because we have sold quite a few lately.
Captions 46-47, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 11Play Caption
While you can clearly see in the first two examples that the word mucho changes forms (to mucha and muchas) to agree with the feminine singular and plural nouns it replaces (cositas/gangas and gente), the third example is notable because the noun being replaced by the masculine plural form muchos is not immediately apparent. However, since the conversation in question, which began several captions earlier, involves cars (the masculine plural noun, los coches), the masculine plural form muchos must be utilized to express the idea of "many" in this context.
We hope that this lesson has helped to clarify the difference between muy vs. mucho in Spanish since sus muchos usos y matices pueden resultar muy difíciles (their many uses and nuances can be very difficult) for English speakers. We welcome any insight you might have on mucho vs. muy in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
To begin this lesson, let's take a look at a caption in a Yabla video that recently baffled one our subscribers:
Obviamente, la comunicación es la esencia de este tipo de trabajos.
Obviously, communication is the essence of this type of job.
Caption 40, Negocios - La solicitud de empleoPlay Caption
Spanish sentences such as this one involving "tipo de" ["type" or "types of"] tend to confuse English speakers. After all, the literal translation of this sentence would read, "Obviously, communication is the essence of this type of jobs," which doesn’t work in English since “this” is singular and “jobs” is plural. In the vast majority of similar constructions in English involving countable nouns (nouns like "leaf/leaves," "cookie/cookies," etc. that can be physically counted), there must be singular/singular or plural/plural agreement, leaving one with the choice of either "this type of job" or "these types of jobs."
However, this is not the case in Spanish since singular with plural is the most common construction, or occasionally singular with singular in the case of a single noun. Let’s look at some examples of each of these cases:
Si a todo esto añadimos otro tipo de problemas medio ambientales.
If to all this we add another kind of environmental problem.
Caption 16, 3R - Campaña de reciclajePlay Caption
Yo sí tengo la esperanza que se reduzc'... se reduzcan este tipo de eventos, ¿no?
I do have the hope that these types of occurrences will be red'... will be reduced, right?
Caption 57, Amigos D.F. - El secuestrarPlay Caption
¿Qué tipo de habitación desea?
What kind of room would you like?
Caption 10, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 1Play Caption
Note that in the case above, habitación is considered a single noun since the gentleman being addressed is only looking for one room; hence the singular with singular construction.
In both Spanish and English, uncountable nouns (nouns like "water," "coffee," "love," etc. that cannot be counted) go in singular with tipo de (or "type(s)" or "kind(s)") of as follows:
Y digamos que conforme se va fabricando ese tipo de líquido,
And let's say that just as that type of liquid is being produced,
Caption 92, Animales en familia - La operación de YakiPlay Caption
En ellos, recibió todo tipo de apoyo de sus simpatizantes.
In them, he got all kinds of support from his followers.Play Caption
To add further confusion for English speakers (sorry!), in most such cases with "partitive" (referring to part of a whole) constructions like "tipo de," the verb can be conjugated in either singular or plural! Let's take a look at a couple of examples:
En cuanto al tipo de... trabajos que me gusta ver.
In terms of the types of... projects that I like to see.
Caption 22, Álvaro - Arquitecto Español en LondresPlay Caption
Note that the verb gustar is conjugated in first person in accordance with the singular noun el tipo. However, without changing the translation, it would be perfectly acceptable to instead conjugate gustar in accordance with the plural trabajos:
En cuanto al tipo de... trabajos que me gustan ver.
In terms of the types of... projects that I like to see.
Let's look at one more example:
Además, en la conjugación de los verbos,
Also, in the conjugation of verbs,
este tipo de sufijos nos indican.
these types of suffixes tell us.
Captions 35-36, Carlos explica - Diminutivos y Aumentativos Cap 1: Los sufijosPlay Caption
While indicar is conjugated in accordace with the plural noun sufijos, it could alternatively be conjugated in accordance with the singular noun tipo:
Además, en la conjugación de los verbos,
Also, in the conjugation of verbs,
este tipo de sufijos nos indica.
these types of suffixes tell us.
Finally, it is worth noting that, in the cases of particular Spanish linking verbs like ser (to be), estar (to be), or parecer (to seem), the verb is nearly always conjugated in plural when followed by a subject complement (most simply defined as an "attribute"), as follows:
Este tipo de bicicletas están pensadas
This type of bicycle is planned
para desplazamientos cortos.
for short distances.
Captions 5-6, Raquel - Alquilar una bicicletaPlay Caption
To conclude, although we have focused on tipo de for the purpose of this lesson, other "partitive constructions" like el resto de (the rest of), la mayor parte de (most of), la mayoría de (most of), etc. function the same way.
We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions.
Let's talk about gender. If you have been studying Spanish, you probably know that nouns in Spanish have a gender. For example, the word libro (book) is a masculine noun. On the contrary, the noun pelota (ball) is feminine. If you want to use those nouns with their corresponding definite articles, you will say el libro (the book) and la pelota (the ball). Now, what about the noun agua (water)? Is agua masculine or feminine? Do you say el agua or la agua?
Let's take a look at some clips:
Cuando uno tiene sed
When one is thirsty
Pero el agua no está cerca
But the water's not close by
Captions 17-18, Jarabe de Palo - AguaPlay Caption
Y como para completar la historia, desperdiciaban el agua todo el tiempo.
And, as if to make matters worse, they wasted water all the time.
Caption 15, Salvando el planeta Palabra - LlegadaPlay Caption
Y apenas sus pies tocaron el agua,
And as soon as their feet touched the water,
se convirtieron en dos grandes serpientes.
they turned into two big snakes.Play Caption
Can you now answer our question? According to the above clips, is agua masculine or feminine? In all the previous clips, the word agua is placed right after the masculine definite article "el" so the noun agua must be masculine, right? Not so fast! Let's take a look at the following clips:
Limonadas, refrescos o simplemente agua fresca.
Lemonades, sodas or just cold water.
Caption 42, Aprendiendo con Karen - Utensilios de cocinaPlay Caption
Las formas de presentación incluyen el agua ozonizada y el aceite ozonizado.
The formulations include ozonized water and ozonized oil.
Caption 35, Los médicos explican - Beneficios del ozonoPlay Caption
Un día, los vientos del páramo agitaron las aguas de la laguna.
One day, the winds from the tundra shook up the waters of the lake.Play Caption
Did you see that? If you look at the first two clips, you can see that the adjectives that go after the noun agua are feminine adjectives that end with the vowel "a" (fresca and ionizada). Also, in the third clip, you can see that the term aguas (plural form of agua) is preceded by the feminine definite article "las". So, is agua masculine or feminine?
The answer is very simple: the noun agua is always feminine. However, if you are wondering why we say "el agua" and not "la agua" there is a simple rule you need to keep in mind: If a feminine noun starts with a stressed "a", you need to use the masculine definite article "el". Let's see more feminine nouns that start with a stressed "a":
el águila (the eagle)
el alma (the soul)
Nevertheless, it is important to say that for plural feminine nouns, you need to use the plural feminine definitive article "las":
las aguas (the waters)
las águilas (the eagles)
las almas (the souls)
Finally, keep in mind that if the noun is feminine the adjective needs to be feminine too. For example, let's say that we want to say "the water is dirty." Since water is feminine in Spanish, you need to use the feminine version of the adjective (sucia):
RIGHT - El agua está sucia
WRONG - El agua está sucio
So, there you have it. We hope you learned something useful today and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.
¡Hasta la próxima!
In this lesson, we talk about the plural in Spanish. In particular, we talk about the plural when it refers to nouns. Let's start this lesson with a little quiz. Do you know the plural form of the following nouns?:
1. Casa (house)
2. Perro (dog)
3. Universidad (university)
4. Lápiz (pencil)
5. Jabalí (wild boar)
6. Análisis (analysis)
If you are not sure about how to make a singular noun plural in Spanish, we invite you to take a look at the following simple rules. While going through these rules, we will be unveiling the plural form of the 6 nouns we included in our quiz. Let's take a look.
- Casa (house) - Casas (houses)
- Estudiante (student) - Estudiantes (students)
- Perro (perro) - Perros (dogs)
Se escucha un perro.
You can hear a dog.Play Caption
Tus perros también son muy bonitos.
Your dogs are very beautiful too.Play Caption
- Papá (dad) - Papás (dads)
- Dominó (domino) - Dominós (dominoes)
- Café (coffee) - Cafés (coffees)
Y les voy a mostrar el proceso de control de calidad de café de Colombia.
And I'm going to show you the quality-control process for coffee from Colombia.
Caption 5, Una Historia de Café - La BodegaPlay Caption
Cada uno de estos cafés tiene distintas cualidades tanto físicas como sensoriales.
Each one of these coffees has different qualities both physically and sensorially.
Caption 14, Una Historia de Café - La BodegaPlay Caption
- Bisturí (scalpel) - Bisturíes or bisturís (scalpels)
- Jabalí (wild boar) - Jabalíes or jabalís (wild boars)
- Tabú (taboo) - Tabúes or tabús (taboos)
Generally speaking, however, it is preferred to use the plural formed with 'ES'.
Also, this rule is very common when you are dealing with adjectives of nationality:
- Iraní (Iranian) - Iraníes or iranís (Iranians)
- Árbol (tree) - Árboles (trees)
- Profesor (teacher) - Profesores (teachers)
- Universidad (university) - Universidades (universities)
- Rey (king) - Reyes (kings)
La rata esta es el rey de la estafa por allá en Europa.
This rat is the king con artist over there in Europe.
Caption 45, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 1Play Caption
Actualmente es la residencia oficial de los reyes de España.
Currently, it's the official residence of the King and Queen of Spain.
Caption 23, Madrid - Un recorrido por la capital de EspañaPlay Caption
Notice that the singular noun árbol has a graphic accent in the second-to-last syllable (palabra grave). However, when you form the plural, the graphic accent moves to the third-to-last-syllable becoming a proparoxytone word (palabra esdrújula). Similarly, singular nouns like profesor and universidad that are stressed in the last syllable (palabras agudas) become paroxytone words (palabras graves) in the plural form.
- Lápiz (pencil) - Lápices (pencils)
- Raíz (root) - Raíces (roots)
- Voz (voice) - Voces (voices)
Tengo muy buena voz.
I have a very good voice.
Caption 91, Los casos de Yabla - Problemas de convivenciaPlay Caption
Vuelven esas voces a mi cabeza.
Those voices come back to my head.Play Caption
Paroxytone or proparoxytone nouns ending in 's' or 'x' keep the same form in plural. Let's see some examples:
- Cactus (cactus) - Cactus (cactuses/cacti)
- Tórax (thorax) - Tórax (thoraxes/thoraces)
- Análisis (analysis) - Análisis (analyses/tests)
Y en un análisis de nuestras debilidades, oportunidades, fortalezas y amenazas.
And an analysis of our weaknesses, opportunities, strengths and threats.Play Caption
...para hacerle los análisis de sangre, de heces.
...to do the blood tests, stool (tests).
Caption 54, Santuario para burros - SantuarioPlay Caption
That's it for now. We hope these rules help you to use the plural in Spanish. If you feel like practicing a little bit more, take 20 nouns and try to form their plural forms. And of course, don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.