In English, we say "degree of darkness." In a document, I stumbled on the phrase "cantidad de oscuridad," which means the "amount of darkness." This becomes really awkward in English. Is this phrase correct or common in Spanish?

  • Is this an expression meaning something figuratively, or it's literally the how much darkness there is, eg. in a room?
    – JoulSauron
    Aug 29, 2013 at 14:20
  • This comes from a technical report, so we can expect the literal meaning. Aug 29, 2013 at 22:21

2 Answers 2


This is a case where English and Spanish coincide and the expresions can be translated word-by-word. Your English example would be "grado de oscuridad" and it is perfectly understandable, if not common. The string of words you are asking about (I hesitate to call it a Spanish expression) sounds awful. So yes, you are right to be suspicious.

Of course the whole point is that you do not measure darkness. You can talk about the quality of the darkness, and that is why "degree" works in both languages.

  • I use el grado de oscuridad
    – Newbie
    Aug 29, 2013 at 17:08
  • grado de oscuridad es mas entendible y suena menos "traducido".
    – Rafa
    Sep 2, 2013 at 7:43

In Spanish, the expression cantidad de luz is used to mean illuminance. I can understand cantidad de oscuridad as the inverse: the less amount of light (= the less illuminance), the more amount of darkness.

The expression doesn't sound bad (this time I disagree with Rodrigo). It sounds natural, given common phrases as más/menos oscuridad, mucha oscuridad, cuánta/tanta oscuridad.

But I don't work in architecture or any field where that expression could be used, so I can't definitely assert whether it is commonly used or not.

  • Can you give me an example where this is used? Aug 29, 2013 at 22:27
  • “Las habitaciones más grandes por lo general pueden soportar una gran cantidad de oscuridad, en cambio las pequeñas a menudo necesitan mucha luz para darle un aspecto más grande y menos claustrofóbico.” (ehowenespanol.com/…)
    – angus
    Aug 30, 2013 at 5:06

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