I am studying Spanish with Michel Thomas Method. It states:

That is a very good idea. = Eso es una buena idea.

I notice that there is no "muy" in the Spanish translation. Does this mean that you don't use "very" to emphasize a quality? When would you use "muy"?

3 Answers 3


What Diego explains is correct. "Muy" is equivalent to the English adverb "very"--both modify adjectives or other adverbs ("Ella corre muy lentamente" = "She runs very slowly"; "Ella es muy tonta" = "She is very stupid"; "una chica muy popular" = "a very popular girl").

However, it's not an error in the course, as you commented. Notice that "buena" here precedes the noun that it modifies, which is "idea." In Spanish, the adjective usually follows the noun that it modifies. However, to give special emphasis, and especially with certain adjectives like "bueno," simply changing the word order in this way is enough to heighten the meaning of the adjective. Such a change in word order cannot be directly translated into English, so it is simply translated as "very." Similarly, "un día terrible" and "un terrible día" both mean "a terrible day," but the second one is more dramatic. Thus, adding "muy" to "buena idea," when the word order already conveys some degree of emphasis, is not absolutely necessary.

EDIT: You also might be interested in Kent Anderson's and dockeryz's answer to this recently asked question: Adjective in "buena casa"


"Muy" is an adverb. Thus, you use it to modify the quality of adjetives (among others) as you stated. It does stand for "very" and indeed it is used for emphasis, but as "very" in English you are not forced to use it every time. You could either say

Eso es una buena idea That is a good idea

Eso es una muy buena idea That is a very good idea

In the second sentence, you are only emphasizing. Realize that if you were forced to use "muy" every time, it would lose its meaning, since it wouldn't indicate emphasis. It would be just a particle you are forced to use. As "very", you only add "muy" when you want to stress the quality.

Eso está bien vs. Eso está muy bien

Ese coche es rápido vs. Ese coche es muy rápido

  • So, is the example in my question wrong? Is the correct translation That is a good idea instead of That is a very good idea? Thnaks!
    – big_smile
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 14:01
  • 3
    If the English sentence uses "very" the Spanish translation should have "muy". The adverb is used practically the same way in both languages.
    – Diego
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 15:34
  • In Michel Thomas, it also says I like very much / me gusta muy bien". Should the translation actually be Me gusta muy mucho as bien means good?
    – big_smile
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 12:00
  • 1
    @big_smile, yes, we don't say "me gusta bien". No point on using "muy" there either. You are right: "me gusta mucho" is the proper way of saying it.
    – Diego
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 13:57
  • Thanks, that alway caught me out. I guess there must be errors in the course!
    – big_smile
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 15:00

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  • Muy is an adverb which means "very" in English. This word has only one form regardless of gender (masculine/feminine) or number (plural/singular).
  • It is often used before an adjective to enhance its intensity.

For example:

Estoy muy enojado - I am very angry

Mi abuelita es muy baja - My grandmother is very short

  • It can also be used before an adverb

Yo hablo muy despacio - I speak very slowly

  • It needs to be accompanied by an adverb or an adverb. It never stands alone.

So you say, "Sí, mucho" instead of "si, muy"

Source: Muy vs Mucho - How and when to use


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