Spanish Intensifiers: Muy, Mucho, Poco

by Patricia Mendez on Wednesday, November 27, 2019

How to express quantity and quality

In today’s blog post we are going to go over the main intensity and quantity expressions used in Spanish: muy (very), mucho (much/very) and poco (few). You’ll realize that not many explanations are needed and that it’s a very easy topic to understand.

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Muy, poco

We place muy (very) and poco, poca (few) before adjectives and adverbs to describe the intensity of a quality or a feature. For example:

El examen fue muy difícil.

(The exam was very difficult)

In the previous example muy gives us a hint of how difficult the exam was. In other words, muy modifies the adjective difícil.

Mi profesor habla muy rápido

(My teacher talks very fast)

Muy refers now to the adjective rápido, giving us more information on how fast the teacher speaks.

Es una persona poco habladora

(He or she is not a very talkative person)

In the example above, poco describes the intensity of the adjective habladora.

Mucho, poco

However, we place the words mucho, mucha, muchos, muchas and poco, poca, pocos, pocas next to nouns and verbs. We do it to indicate the quantity or quality of an action. For example:

Tenemos muchas preguntas.

(We’ve got many questions)

In this case, the word muchas helps us understand how many questions they have, and the word preguntas is not an adjective, but a noun.

Ahora hay poco trabajo en mi ciudad

(There’s few work in my town).

In the previous example, poco refers to the quantity of available jobs and it also accompanies a noun.

Hablas mucho, pero escuchas poco.

(You talk a lot, but you listen very few)

However, here mucho and poco don’t modify a noun. On the contrary, they express the intensity of two actions: hablar and escuchar, which are both verbs.

Note that when they modify verbs, that is to say, actions, mucho and poco are only used in their singular and masculine form.

Hope everything is very clear by now and you have very few doubts left. 😉

Thanks to Ignacio, from our Spanish school in Alicante, for clarifying many of our doubts.


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