Spanish expressions: “Cuanto más…”, “más…”

spanish expressions cuanto mas mas 1

In Spanish, “cuanto más… más” introduces proportional comparative structures. These express the progressive increase or decrease of two parallel sizes. In these structures, “cuanto” must agree in gender and number with the core noun of the comparison. If what follows “más” is an adjective, “cuanto” remains unchanged.

We can say that “cuanto más… más” is the formal expression in Spanish to quantify things, animals, and people, among others. Even though the academy accepts the colloquial variant “mientras más”. On the other hand, the norm rejects the use of “entre más” and “contra más” for “cuanto más”.

Now that it’s clear, we are going to teach you how to use “cuanto más… más”.

What is an adverbial phrase?

An adverbial phrase is a fixed expression made up of several words that are equal to an adverb. Adverbial phrases can change into a verb, an adjective, an adverb, a statement, and even an entire sentence. They can also work as discourse connectors.

We can see that the adverbial phrase is a single grammatical piece with a stable meaning. Thus, it does not vary, we can not get this meaning by the sum of its components since it is unitary.

We can also classify adverbial phrases in the same groups as adverbs. The classifications can be of time, place, manner, quantity, sustainability, denial, and doubt. In addition, the adverbial phrase has a modifying function within the sentence.

For example,

Repitió la lección al pie de la letra.

He repeated the lesson verbatim.

The adverbial phrase helps to add more context to sentences. They describe how an event happened or will happen. They also describe where the event took place, and the time and explain what happened. We can use them to provide extra information to the sentences.

How to use ‘cuanto más… más’

We refer to a comparative structure when we speak of “cuanto más… más”. This means that we are relating two terms by their similarity or qualities through a relation of words. This comparative relationship of words can show superiority or inferiority. It all depends on what you want to express.

“Cuanto más… más”, in grammar, is an adverbial phrase, which if it goes before an adjective or an adverb, its meaning remains intact.

The formula for this can be like this,

Cuanto más + adjective + más + adjective

Note that the “más” that goes after the adjective refers to the highest degree of something.

Let’s see some examples.

Cuanto más se habla del tema, más me interesa.

The more people talk about it, the more it interests me.

Cuanto más me importa la persona, más me preocupa.

The more I care about the person, the more I care.

Cuanto más me miras, más me enamoro de ti.

The more you look at me, the more I fall in love with you.

We use the indicative and the subjunctive in the examples that we have already seen. It all depends if we are referring to something that happens in the present. On the other hand, we can also refer to something that will happen in the future.

For example:

Este cuadro, cuanto más lo miro más me gusta.

This picture, the more I look at it the more I like it.

This example above is with the present indicative because the action is happening now.

Este cuadro, cuanto más lo mires más te gustará.

This picture, the more you look at it the more you will like it.

That example is subjunctive because the action will happen in the future.

‘Cuanto más’ and ‘cuanto menos’

The more and the less are the English expressions for “cuanto más” and “cuanto menos”. We can say that “cuanto más” is a locution that means “greater reason”. Moreover, “cuanto menos” is also a locution. We use it for expressions in which we relate two elements of the same sentence to each other.

Here are some examples of expressions with “cuanto más” and “cuanto menos” to make it clearer.

Cuanto más habla, menos atractivo me resulta.

The more he speaks, the less attractive I find him.

Cuanto menos te vea, mejor.

The less I see you, the better.

Cuanto más me miras, más me enamoro de ti.

The more you look at me, the more I fall in love with you.

Reviewing the previous examples, we can structure the formula in this way.

Cuanto más/menos + adjective, más/menos + adjective

Another formula with a verb can be like this below,

Cuanto más/menos + verb, más/menos + adjective/verb

For example,

Cuanto menos hago, más vago me siento.

The less I do, the lazier I feel.

Cuanto menos sepa, menos sufriré.

The less I know, the less I will suffer.

Remember that “cuanto” is invariable in this type of sentence when comparing adjectives. Also, if they go before an adjective or an adverb, they still remain invariable.

Here are some examples.

Cuanto más fuertes son los dolores cervicales, más es la carga personal.

The stronger the cervical pains, the greater the personal burden.

Cuanto más lejos se está del barrio, menos brillo hay en la vía pública.

The further you are from the neighborhood, the less bright there is on public roads.

‘¡Cuanto más estudio, más aprendo!’

In summary, there are many ways to compare in Spanish, but this is one of the most common and formal in the language. When we say “cuanto más” we want to refer to the phrase with more reason. In this sense, we should not confuse it with “cuando más”, another phrase that means “most”.

However, we can say that we use “cuanto más… más” when we want to compare anything we want. Always remember to maintain the structures and rules. In this way, we do not make mistakes when speaking or writing.


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