Using MUITO in Portuguese: the Guide to Become Very Good
Using muito in Portuguese can get quite confusing.
“It’s been raining a lot.”
“John is a very intelligent man.”
“I have very little patience for kids.”
Those three situations do require muito in Portuguese.
But did you know that this word changes… sometimes?
Have you learned the variants that Brazilians use much more often than muito?
Did you hear that it’s got a quite nasal pronunciation?
You will discover all of this — and much more — in this short and in-depth article.
How to Pronounce Muito in Portuguese?
Before we move on, you should have it very clear in your mind:
The word muito in Portuguese has got a nasal sound. That happens because of “contamination”.
The M at the beginning of the word “contaminates” the following vowels.
And it occurs in many other Portuguese words. Whenever you talk with your Brazilian friends, pay close attention to that.
You will become a much better speaker.
“Muitas Pessoas Dizem Isto.” (Muito + Noun)
In this case, muito is an adjective.
And if you remember your lesson on Portuguese adjectives, these little words have to “agree” with the nouns they are preceding.
You know, grammatical genders and all that stuff?
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the following examples.
- Eu não tenho muito dinheiro aqui comigo. Você pode pagar para mim? I don’t have much money here with me. Can you pay it for me?
- Muitas pessoas foram votar nas últimas eleições. Foi incrível. Many people voted in the last elections. It was incredible.
- Muitos homens dizem que não são machistas, mas na verdade são um pouco. Many men say that they are not sexist, but actually they are a little bit.
- Eu não vejo muita diferença entre esta palavra e aquela. I don’t see much difference between this word and that one.
Now, read the third example again paying close attention to the last two words (um pouco).
We’ll revisit them in a moment.
Muito Interessante! (Muito + Adjective)
Upon learning that his girlfriend is a rock singer by the night, John says to himself: muito interessante.
But this use and the examples we saw in the previous section are different.
Up there, muito was working as an adjective. It was modifying nouns.
But here, it’s connected to an adjective — interessante. So, it’s an adverb.
And whenever you use muito as an adverb, it doesn’t change.
(But we’ll be back to that in a moment.)
- O Paulo é um homem muito inteligente, mas ele não tem muita disposição para fazer nada. Paul is a very intelligent man, but he doesn’t have much willingness to do anything.
- Caramba! Eu sabia que o Brasil era um país muito quente, mas não imaginava que fosse esse inferno. Geez! I knew Brazil was a very hot country, but I didn’t imagine it was like this hell.
- Não é muito perigoso nessa vizinhança, é? Me disseram que essa vizinhança é muito perigosa. It isn’t very dangerous in this neighborhood, is it? I was told this neighborhood is very dangerous.
A few lines above, I said muito as an adverb never changes. But in Brazil, we have a tacit rule — if there is a rule, we’ll break it. Count on it.
Ele fala muito. (Verb + Muito)
Taylor can’t help it. He speaks a lot, even when he shouldn’t.
And it was unlucky of him when his mother-in-law asked him whether he wanted to eat her specially-made pie.
Without thinking, he said, “Não gosto muito.”
And in that situation, he uses muito in Portuguese.
If you don’t remember the school definition of an adverb, it is simple a word we attach to verbs and adjectives to modify them.
In this case, we are attaching it to verbs. And because they are verbs, they never change.
- Ele fala muito português. He speaks Portuguese lot.
- Meus pais trabalharam muito para que eu entrasse na universidade. My parents worked a lot so that I could go to college.
- Meus amigos reclamam muito quando vão para a praia. Se eles detestam o sol, por que ir para a praia? My friends complain a lot when they go to the beach. If they hate the sun, why go to the beach?
You probably know Brazilians are highly informal.
When Brazilians greet, eat, meet — it doesn’t matter the situation… We always prefer a most informal and intimate way to communicate.
Here you have some informal alternatives to muito in Portuguese.
- Hoje tem um bocado de gente aqui, né? Nem parece que tem pandemia. There is a lot of people here today, right? It doesn’t even look like we have a pandemic.
- Ele gastou um monte de dinheiro para aprender a esquiar. Que bobo. Eu aprendi sozinho. He spent a lot of money to learn how to ski. How silly. I learned it on my own.
- Ela falou um montão de besteira na aula ontem. Não sei como contrataram essa professora. She said a lot of BS during the lesson yesterday. How they hired this teacher beats me.
And there is this regional variation I pretty much like — this is what we use in Ceará, my home state.
- O Carlos comprou uma ruma de roupa no Natal e ainda não conseguiu vestir nenhuma. Carlos bought a lot of clothes on Christmas and he hasn’t managed to wear any yet.
You could use those variations as both adverbs and adjectives.
When you use them as adjectives, include the preposition “de”. It’s the only way we know it’s connected to a noun.
And the following informal variants are mostly used as adverbs.
And pay attention to their placement — after the word it modifies.
- Ela falou para caramba. Está cansada de tanto falar. She talked a lot. She’s tired of talking that much.
- Ele trabalhou para cacete nesse projeto. Merece todo o crédito. (taboo) He worked his ass off in this project. He deserves all credit.
- Estou feliz para burro. I’m happy out of my socks.
When It’s Muito Muito Muito Muito
The adverb muito has do one more change to make it more… intense.
Imagine you’ve always loved the Backstreet Boys. I don’t know if they still play together, but for the purpose of this example let’s say they do.
A friend of yours says the Backstreet Boys are in your town for a concert. She doesn’t know whether you like them or not, so she asks, “você gosta deles?“
To show her the depth of your love, you say, “muitíssimo!“
And although “muitíssimo” derives from muito, it actually means extremely.
- Ela é muitíssimo inteligente. She is extremely intelligent.
- Eu estou muitíssimo cansado. Me deixe em paz. I’m extremely tired. Leave me alone.
But Brazilians are using this less and less in speaking and writing. They prefer to use “extremamente” straight out. This word may die in our Brazilian Portuguese.
It’s sad to see a word die.
If you think you make mistakes just because you’re a foreigner, don’t berate yourself. Brazil-born Brazilians also make lots of Portuguese mistakes.
And using muito in Portuguese wrongly is one of them.
Here are some common mistakes. I won’t even include the correct version. If you’ve reached this far in the article, you know much more than many Brazilians do.
- Ela é muita esperta.*
- A Maria é muita raivosa.*
Are Muito and Pouco In Portuguese Somewhat Similar?
If we’re talking about usage, yes, they are.
However, when you use “pouco” as an adjective including the indefinite article — um, as in um pouco — you need to pair it up with the preposition “de”.
- Eu entendo um pouco do assunto. Você pode me ajudar a entender melhor? I understand the subject a little. Can you help me understand it better?
- Tenho pouco dinheiro. Não posso comprar nada agora. I have little money. I can’t buy anything now.
- A Sílvia sempre foi de falar muito pouco. Sylvia has always spoken very little.
- Eu tenho muito pouca paciência para esse tipo de coisa. I have very little patience for this kind of stuff.
You’ve seen the last example that the word muito and pouco have been used together, but only pouco changed.
It’s because the adverb is muito and the adjective is pouco.
But you already know that 🙂
- I know Brazilians use the word very both as an adverb and as an adjective.
- I understand that when muito is used as an adjective, it can be muitos, muitas, muita, or even muitíssimo.
- When used with an adjective or verb, muito is an adverb and never changes.
- Brazilians make some mistakes and I may make them too. After all, I am human and fallible. I forgive myself for that.
See? No know a great deal more about muito in Portuguese.
And what’s best, you can now show off your very good skills everywhere — in family reunions, meeting with friends, or even online!
In fact, you have the opportunity right now.
Leave in the comments section below your answer to the following question:
O que você faz muito que gostaria de fazer pouco?
(or ask questions – I do love your questions!)
And if you’re ready to take lessons, take advantage of our offers by taking a look at our services.