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Muy vs. Mucho in Spanish

Should you use mucho or muyDo you know how to say the Spanish words muy and mucho in English? What is the difference between muy vs. mucho in Spanish? 

 

Definitions of Muy vs. Mucho

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. 

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Muy + Adjective

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 especial

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¡estos plátanos son muy pequeños!

these bananas are very small!

Caption 30, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

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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 Jacky

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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 Presumida

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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. 

 

Muy + Adverb

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.

Caption 55, Carlos explica - Acentuación Cap. 3: La división en sílabas

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Kristen, por ejemplo, tú has dicho, muy rápidamente,

Kristen, for example, you've said, very quickly,

Caption 11, Clase Aula Azul - Pedir deseos

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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.

Caption 46, Animales en familia - Señales de calma y cosquillas en los perros

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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.

Caption 29, Documental de Alejandro Fernandez - Viento A Favor

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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). 

 

Mucho as an Adjective: Mucho + Noun

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 deseos

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La verdad es que yo he tenido muchos perros,

The truth is that I've had many dogs,

Caption 50, Tu Voz Estéreo - Laura

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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 médica

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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 país

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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. 

 

Mucho as an Adverb: Mucho + Verb

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 Huancaína

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Estos ejercicios ayudan mucho

These exercises really help

Caption 59, Bienestar con Elizabeth - Relajación

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Me gusta mucho este parque.

I really like this park.

Caption 9, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

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Sí, me gustan mucho las uvas.

Yes, I like grapes a lot.

Caption 21, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

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Mucho/os/a/as as a Pronoun

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 14

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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 16

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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 11

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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

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All About the Verb Llevar and Its Many Uses

¿Cómo te llevas con el español? (How do you get along in Spanish?) Wait— didn't llevar mean "to take"? Well, yes... you're right! The verb llevar often translates as "to take," and not just in phrases like "take your umbrella" or "take your children to school," but also in collocations like "to take time." And these are just a few of the uses of the verb llevar that we'll examine in this lesson. Actually, llevaría más de una lección (it would take more than one lesson) to cover all of its uses. But let's try and do our best here!

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Llevar Meaning "To Take" Something or Someone Somewhere

 

We can llevar something from one place to another and also accompany or guide someone somewhere, as in the following examples:

 

Tengo la posibilidad de llevar todos los días al colegio a mi hijo.

I have the chance to take my son to school every day.

Caption 53, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 18

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Le voy a llevar de compras.

I'm going to take him shopping.

Caption 7, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 2: Sam va de compras

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It is no wonder, then, that the term for "takeout food" (comida para llevar) in Spanish can be literally translated as "food for taking":

 

Aquí había unas comidas para llevar. 

There were some takeout places here.

Caption 8, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 10

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Note that while the speaker uses the term for "takeout food" to refer to the location, it is more common to say casa de comidas para llevar to refer to a takeout restaurant. By the way, in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, these places are also called rotisería.

 

Llevar to Introduce Cause 

 

When this idea of direction goes beyond space to express cause, llevar means something closer to the verbs "to lead" or "to drive" in English, as in the following example:

 

Una cosa llevó a la otra, ¿no?

One thing led to another, right?

Caption 13, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 3

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A person might llevarte a la desesperación, a la ruina o a la locura ("lead" or "drive you to despair, bankrutpcy, or madness"), or maybe you are lucky and end up being very successful, like in this Yabla video:

 

Muchas veces, incluso nos puede llevar al éxito profesional.

Many times, it can even lead us to professional success.

Caption 13, Club de las ideas - Intuición

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Llevar Used with Time

 

Llevar also resembles "to take" when used with time, work, or effort to express that it is necessary to invest such time or effort in something. For instance, in one of our videos, María Sol explains that learning Spanish is a long process by saying that:

 

...de que puede llevar mucho tiempo.

...that it can take a long time.

Caption 29, GoSpanish - Entrevista con María Sol

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Yet, it can also be used to refer to the time that has gone by since the inception of something:

 

¿Cuánto tiempo llevas en Marbella? -En Marbella, cuarenta y un años.

How long have you been in Marbella? -In Marbella, forty-one years.

Caption 10, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 11

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Llevamos más de dos semanas sin agua.

We've been without water for more than two weeks.

Caption 24, Kikirikí - Agua

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Llevar Meaning "to Wear"

 

We also use llevar to refer to the clothing or glasses we "wear," or the way we have our hair, in sentences such as Llevaba lentes (He/She was wearing glasses) or María llevaba el cabello largo (María had long hair).

 

...y me gusta llevar faldas normalmente.

...and I like to wear skirts usually.

Caption 6, El Aula Azul - Actividades Diarias

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Llevar a Cabo

 

Another instance in which llevar can be translated as "to take" is when we use the expression llevar a cabo (to take place), which might also mean "to carry out" or "conduct" depending on the case/collocation.

 

Aquí se va a llevar a cabo el Campeonato WK.

Here, the WK Championship is going to take place.

Caption 3, Adícora, Venezuela - Víctor

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Dejarse Llevar

 

We'll often hear people inviting us to let go, relax, and enjoy the feeling of dejarse llevar (letting oneself go), another expression which incorporates this verb:

 

Hay que estar relajado y dejarse llevar, ¿no?

You should be relaxed and let yourself go, right?

Caption 12, Club de las ideas - Intuición

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Llevarse Bien/Mal 

 

Finally, we'll can state that nos llevamos bien/mal with a person or people to describe how well or poorly we "get along with" others.

 

Que la puedes llevar a una... a un sitio,

That you can take her to a... to a place,

y sabes que se va a llevar bien con todo el mundo...

and you know she'll get along with everyone...

Caption 61, Biografía - Enrique Iglesias

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As you can tell, there are so many uses of llevar that se hace difícil llevar la cuenta (it's hard to keep track) of all of them. We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions¡Hasta la próxima!

Grammar Verbs

Ser vs Estar - Yo Soy

Let's continue our series on the use of the verbs ser and estar, now focusing on how you can use soy (“I'm”—the first-person singular form of ser in the present tense) to talk about yourself.
 

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The present tense of the verb ser (to be) is soy. You can use it combined with an adjective (or a participiothe -ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho endings and their feminine and plural forms, used as an adjective) to express an intrinsic characteristic or status, a permanent state of mind, body, or soul.
 
For starters, you can use it to introduce yourself:

Soy Paco, de 75 Minutos. -Hola.

I'm Paco, from 75 Minutes. -Hello.

Caption 7, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 4

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You can also use soy to talk about your occupation, career, etc.
 

Yo soy guardia civil.

I am a Civil Guard.

Caption 33, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 12

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And you can use soy to talk about your personality, preferences, nationality, beliefs or affiliations. For example: Yo soy musulmán (I'm muslim), soy miembro del partido (|'m a member of the party), soy tu hada madrina (I'm your fairy godmother).
 

Soy buena clienta, sí. La verdad que sí.

I am a good customer, yes. I truly am.

Caption 2, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 7

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Yo soy bastante escrupulosa y no me da nada.

I am pretty fussy and it doesn't bother me at all.

Caption 21, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 7

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The verb soy can also be used to talk about a role, status, function, etc:
 

Tú eres testigo. -Yo soy testigo. -Tú eres testigo.

You're a witness. -I'm a witness. -You're a witness.

Caption 81, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 11

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We mentioned, in our previous lesson on the subject, that estoy can also be used to talk about roles when combined with the preposition de, so saying yo estoy de testigo is also correct. There are subtle differences, though, which sometimes get lost in translation:
 
Yo soy testigo - I'm a witness
Yo estoy de testigo - I'm (working as) a witness
 
It's perhaps at this point, when these verbs are combined with adjectives (or participios used as adjectives), that English speakers get the most confused about the difference between soyand estoy. It gets even more confusing because in many cases it may seem Spanish speakers use both verbs indistinctly. Here are some examples:
 
Yo soy casado - I'm (a) married (person).
Yo estoy casado - I'm married.
Yo soy gordo - I'm (a) fat (person).
Yo estoy gordo - I'm fat.
Yo soy pequeña - I'm (a) small (person).
Yo estoy pequeña - I'm small.
 
Sometimes, however, it's impossible to use them indistinctly. It happens more frequently when the verbs are combined with participios (-ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho endings), which take estar much more easily than ser:
 
Yo estoy devastado - I'm devastated.
*Yo soy devastado - Incorrect, don't use it.
Yo estoy cansado - I'm tired.
*Yo soy cansado - Incorrect, don't use it.
Yo estoy herido - I'm wounded.
*Yo soy herido - Incorrect, don't use it.
Yo estoy muerto - I'm dead.
*Yo soy muerto - Incorrect, don't use it.
 
*It's interesting how this may be different while using other modes or tenses. For example both yo estuve herido and yo fui herido (I was wounded) are possible, given the right context. However, fui herido is actually far more common than yo estuve herido, which would need a special context to make proper sense, for example: Yo estuve herido sin recibir ayuda por 10 horas (I was wounded without receiving any help for 10 hours).
 
The verb soy is also frequently combined with prepositions. For example, when combined with the preposition de, the verb soy indicates origin. So, besides soy mexicano (I'm Mexican) you can also say soy de México (I'm from Mexico).
 
Typically, the verb soy is followed by articles, but estoy doesn't take articles. Compare these:
 
Soy el mejor (I'm the best), soy mejor (I'm better), and estoy mejor (I feel better) are correct, but never say estoy el mejor. 
Soy tu padre (I'm your father), soy padre (I'm a father / also "I'm a nice person") and even estoy padre (I feel or look good) are correct, but you can't say estoy el padre.
Soy buena (I'm good), soy la buena (I'm the good one), estoy buena (I'm hot, good looking) are correct, but never say estoy la buena.
 

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The same happens with pronouns. You won't find a pronoun naturally following the verb estar, except, maybe, when you want to reiterate the subject and change the natural order of words (hyperbaton) for emphatic or stylistic purposes: estoy yo tan triste (me, I feel so sad)Normally, you'd say estoy tan triste (I feel so sad)This could also be done with ser: soy yo tan triste (me, I'm such a sad person).  But again, normally you'd just say soy tan triste (I'm such a sad person).
 
There are many other ways in which you can use the verb soy; these are just some of the most common ones. 

Imperative Constructions

The Spanish constructions haber + de, tener + que, hay + que, and deber + infinitive are all used to express that something demands attention or action: an obligation, requirement, or necessity. Let's review some examples to learn the subtle differences between them and how to properly use them.

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The construction haber + de + infinitive is used to express a mild sense of obligation or necessity (in some contexts it could be just a possibility). Its use is, therefore, preferred when you want to give an instruction in a very polite way, making it sound more like a suggestion than an order. For example, in one of our new videos Raquel uses haber de + infinitive repeatedly to share some entrepreneurial tips:
 

En primer lugar, hemos de definir nuestra estrategia.

In the first place, we have to define our strategy.

Caption 5, Raquel y Marisa - Español Para Negocios - Introducción

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Básicamente, en esta parte, hemos de definir qué vamos a publicar en cada red social.

Basically, in this part, we have to define what we are going to publish on each social network.

Captions 8-9, Raquel y Marisa - Español Para Negocios - Introducción

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Additionally, by using the first person plural, hemos, Raquel gives a subtle aura of consensus to her advice, which stresses the idea that even when she is using an imperative expression, she is not giving an order but rather sharing advice. If she were to use, for example, the second person, the expression would have a bit more pressing or demanding tone:
 

Lo primero que has de hacer al reservar en un restaurante es...

The first thing that you have to do upon reserving at a restaurant is...

Caption 3, Raquel - Reserva de Restaurante

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Here's another example with a twist, using negation:
 

Y no ha de faltarle nunca un sanconcho de ñato pa' rematar.

And you should never lack a snub-nosed fish stew to add the finishing touch.

Caption 14, Mary Grueso Romero - Platonera en la plaza del mercado

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You could also add the word uno (one), to talk impersonally. For example:

Uno ha de hacer aquello que desea.
One must do whatever one wants.

Incidentally, there is one Spanish imperative construction that only uses the impersonal form to express needs, obligations, or requirements in a more generalized way: hay + que infinitive.
 

¡Eres una víbora a la que hay que quitarle la ponzoña!

You're a snake from which it's necessary to remove the venom!

Caption 27, El Ausente - Acto 3 - Part 7

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Or for everyday tasks at hand:
 

Pues hay que diseñar unos 'flyers'.

So, we have to design some flyers.

Caption 58, Arturo Vega - Entrevista - Part 5

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On the other hand, to convey a higher grade or urgency, necessity, or imperativeness, the expressions tener + que + infinitive and deber + infinitive* come in handy. The difference between deber and tener is subtle: the use of deber confers a sense of duty or moral imperativeness to the expression, while tener is better suited to talk about more practical matters.

You can also use these constructions in an impersonal way, adding the word uno (one):
 

Ya, cuando a uno le toca ser papá, pues, uno tiene que reflexionar sobre eso.

Then, when it's time for one to be a dad, well, one has to reflect on that.

Caption 8, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 13

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[If you want to use the verb deber you would say: uno debe reflexionar (one must reflect)]

 

Or you can use the first person for more particular and pressing needs:
 

Ahora tenemos que hablar de precio.

Now we have to talk about price.

Caption 74, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 11

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[If you were to use the verb deberdebemos hablar de precio (we must talk about price)]

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*By the way, the use of deber de + infinitive in imperative statements (such as debes de comer, meaning "you must eat") is common but grammatically incorrect. The use of deber de + infinitive is correct when used to express probability. 

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