Loosely put muy means ‘very’ and mucho ‘a lot or many’. So why is there so much confusion around these two words?
It comes from the way sentences are structed in Spanish and what happens when we translate them ‘literally’ into English. For example;
To say I am very thirsty in Spanish we say; I have a lot of thirst which in Spanish translates as this;
Tengo mucha sed (la sed is a feminine noun)
To say I am very scared in Spanish we say; I have a lot of fear, which translates as:
Tengo mucho miedo (el miedo is a masculine noun)
Mucho calor (very hot as in the weather)
So you can see we use mucha instead of muy.
Let’s take a closer look at them both separately:
The word very in Spanish is muy. It’s the adjective that changes it’s ending to agree with the noun so for exaple
(Esta pasta está) muy sabrosa – (this pasta is) very tasty (sabrosa ends in a to agree with the feminine noun la pasta)
(Jorge conduce) muy rápido / lento – (George drives) very fast / slow
(Esa campera es) muy cara / barata – (That jacket is) very expensive / cheap
(Esta playa es) muy bonita / fea – (This beach is) very pretty / ugly
Unlike muy, mucho/a will change to agree with the noun it describes. Here are some examples;
En España hay muchas playas bonitas – in Spanish there are many pretty beaches (la playa is a feminine noun hence muchas playas)
En Mexico hay muchas pirámdes – In Mexico there are a lot of pyramids (la píramde is a feminine noun)
En el Norte de Argentina hace mucho calor – in the North of Argentina it is very hot. We use mucho when talking about the weather, in this case the word for heat is el calor (masculine) hence mucho calor not mucha calor.
Carina tiene muchos gatos – Carina has a lot of cats (el gato in this case is masculine)
It’s all about practice and repetition – as is most things when it comes to language learning. If you’d like some activities to test how much you know feel free to get in touch.
In the meantime check out my lesson about Muy V’s Mucho on YouTube here: