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When do we use por más que, por mucho que, and por muy que?

I've heard the first expression used pretty frequently, but I've never heard the other two used. Are they synonymous with the first expression?

Also, can we use the subjunctive or the indicative with those expressions?

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    First and second may be correct depending on the text following them, but I cannot think of a sentence for the third unless you use "por muy <something> que". – cdlvcdlv Aug 10 '19 at 19:12
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All three words, más, mucho and muy, are adverbs of quantity. The only difference between them is that, while más and mucho can stand alone, muy always requires an adjective or adverb after it.

más and mucho can be followed by another word, but there are cases when they don't need it:

  • Por más que te esfuerces, no lo lograrás. (Even if you try (hard), you won't make it.)

  • (más + noun) Por más esfuerzos que hagas, no lo lograrás. (No matter how many efforts you make, you won't make it.)

  • (más + adjective) Por más trabajador que seas, no lo lograrás. (No matter how hard-working you are, you won't make it.)

  • (más + adverb) Por más duro que trabajes, no lo lograrás. (No matter how hard you work, you won't make it.)

  • Por mucho que te esfuerces, no lo lograrás. (Even if you try hard, you won't make it.)

  • (mucho + noun) Por mucho esfuerzo que hagas, no lo lograrás. (No matter how much effort you make, you won't make it.)

muy always requires another word after it:

  • (muy + adjective) Por muy trabajador que seas, no lo lograrás. (No matter how hard-working you are, you won't make it.)

  • (muy + adverb) Por muy duro que trabajes, no lo lograrás. (No matter how hard you work, you won't make it.)

As regards the mood, I agree with @pablodf76 that "por más" also accepts indicative. The subjunctive is far more usual than the indicative, which is only used when whatever is contained in the concessive clause is taken as a fact. The subjunctive, however, will tend to be used at all times when the verb in the main clause points to a subsequent time. Notice that, if present indicative is used in the subordinate clause, present will also be used in the main one:

  • Por más que te esfuerzas, no cubres mis expectativas. (Even though you try (hard), you don't meet my expectations.)
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    +1 For all the examples, but note that OP also asks about the mood. You've used the subjunctive but por más que can also take the indicative. – pablodf76 Aug 10 '19 at 22:25
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    When you say "subsequent time," do you mean en otra ocasión, or otra vez? I'm guessing you mean en otra ocasión. Is that right? "Time" is ambiguous in your sentence. I want to edit for clarity but I want to make sure I understand your idea. Here's how I propose to edit it: The subjunctive, however, will tend to be used whenever the verb in the main clause points to a later time. // I have some suggestions for alternatives to using "No matter how" over and over again: as hard as you try, as hard as you might try, try as you might. – aparente001 Aug 11 '19 at 3:43
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    @pablodf76 - I'd invite you to write a supplementary answer with some humdinger indicative examples. – aparente001 Aug 11 '19 at 3:47
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    @aparente001 No, by "subsequent" I mean "later". Notice the difference between Por más que te esfuerzas nunca logras nada and Por más que te esfuerces nunca lograrás nada / Por más que me esforzaba nunca lograba nada and Por más que me esforzara nunca lograría nada. See that the subjunctive in the concessive clause leads to the use of future or past future (conditional) in the main clause. – Gustavson Aug 11 '19 at 11:54
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    The last three sentences do sound off. I was thinking of examples like the first one. – pablodf76 Aug 11 '19 at 12:37

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