One of the things our students often seem to struggle with is the difference between muy and mucho. In short, muy = very in English and mucho = much or many.
But not all languages have equivalents for both, which is what causes the confusion for thousands of students. Hopefully, this article will clear it all up for you. The rules are very straight-forward in the muy vs. mucho case, so you just need to follow them.
Muy can be translated as very. Muy it’s an adverb, so it’s always followed by an adjective or another adverb. It is immutable, which means muy remains the same regardless of number (singular, plural) or gender (feminine, masculine) - muyo, muya, muyos and muyas simply don’t exist. For example:
- Mi profesor es muy bueno. (My teacher [masc.] is very good.)
- Mi profesora es muy buena. (My teacher [fem.] is very good.)
- Mis profesores son muy buenos. (My teachers [masc.] are very good.)
- Mis profesoras son muy buenas. (My teachers [fem.] are very good.)
Notice how muy remains the same: only the noun and the adjective (which must change according to the noun) change. Now, let’s see what happens when muy is followed by an adverb.
- Mi profesor habla muy despacio. (My teacher speaks very slowly.)
- Mi profesora habla muy bien. (My teacher speaks very well.)
Mucho can be translated as many, much, a lot or a lot of. Let’s explore it step by step.
Mucho as an adjective
When it is used as an adjective, it must follow the gender and the number of the noun - like any other adjective in Spanish. Therefore, we use mucho, mucha, muchos and muchas. For example:
- Tengo mucho trabajo [noun masc.]. (I have a lot of work.)
- Tengo mucha hambre [noun fem.]. (I have a lot of hunger.)
- Tengo muchos amigos [noun pl.]. (I have a lot of friends.)
- Tengo muchas amigas [noun pl.]. (I have a lot of friends.)
Although mucho is usually followed by a noun, its position in the sentence changes. However, keep in mind that you need to choose mucho/a, muchos/as every time it qualifies a noun. Here’s an example:
Compañeros hay muchos, amigos hay pocos. (Colleagues there are many, friends there are few.)
Mucho as an adverb
Mucho works as an adverb when it comes after a verb. In that case, it doesn’t need to change: it stays the same, regardless of gender or number. Here are a few examples:
- Yo como mucho. (I eat a lot)
- Ella estudió mucho. (She studied a lot.)
- Vamos mucho al cine. (We go to the cinema a lot.)
- Me gusta mucho la música. (I like music a lot.)
Mucho vs. Mucho
Mucho trabajo or trabajo mucho, what is the difference?
- Mucho trabajo means ‘a lot of work’ - here it is an adjective, because it’s followed by a noun.
- Trabajo mucho means ‘I work a lot’ - it’s an adverb, because it follows a verb.
Occasionally, we also use muchísimo, which is “lots and lots”, “many, many”, “very, very” or “very much”. Like mucho, we can say muchísimo, muchísima, muchísimos, muchísimas. Here are a few final examples:
Este Invierno hace muchísimo frío. (This Winter is very, very cold.)
- Tengo muchísima sed. (I’m very, very thirsty.)
- Había muchísimas personas en ese concierto. (There were many, many people at the concert.)
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