warningsignVery much vs a lot

Both much and a lot can be used as adverbs meaning "to a great extent or degree".  They are often interchangeable; however, there are some differences:

1. When used to modify a comparative adjective, much is preferred in the negative and interrogative (except when emphasising the fact that it isn't a lot*).

2. Very much can modify a verb or verb phrase. Very much sounds more formal and is in decline, with really and a lot becoming more popular.2 

3. Very much is preferred in negative phrases (except when emphasising the fact that it isn't a lot*).

4. In long verb phrases, very much goes before the main verb and after the verb to be. This is often lost in the translation to Spanish.

 E.g.

1) You look much / a lot older in real life Pareces mucho mayor en persona

b) Your house isn't much bigger than mine — Tu casa no es mucho más grande que la mía

*Your house isn't a lot bigger; it's a little bit bigger — Tu casa no es mucho más grande; es un poco más grande

 

2) I like it very much / a lot (I really like it) Me gusta mucho

I would very much (really) like to take you out for dinner sometime — Me gustaría mucho invitarte a cenar algún día

 

3) I don't like it very much  No me gusta mucho

I don't like him a lot; I like him a bit  No me gusta mucho; me gusta un poco

It didn't rain (very) much last night No llovió mucho anoche

-Did it rain much last night? -No. It didn't rain a lot (much/very much— -¿Llovió mucho anoche? -No. No llovió mucho

It rained a lot (very much) last night — Llovió mucho anoche

 

4) Trump's handshake very much  made Abe look like the junior partner — El apretón de manos de Trump hizo, en gran medida, que Abe pareciera su subalterno

b) Corruption is still very much an important issue — La corrupción sigue siendo, sin duda, una cuestión importante

 

In The Press

Children are very much (really)made to feel part of this experience and our children love coming with us when we are in Italy Huffington Post UK-Feb 3, 2017

“It was very much (reallyrun like a junior hockey operation where there weren't many resources to hire staff,” The Athletic-Dec 8, 2016

 

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