Lots of people who want to learn Spanish get confused when they need to use “
más que and más de in Spanish.
Because both phrases mean “More than” in English.
So, how can there be two words that mean the same thing?
In this article, you’ll learn when to use más que and más de in Spanish effectively, so you can sound more natural when you speak Spanish.
The Simple difference between más que and más de in Spanish
Let’s go straight to the point:
- We use más que to make general comparisons between things or objects that have more value than a quantitative comparison. In other words, it can’t be measured with numbers.
- We use más de to make comparisons between quantities and everything that has to do with numbers.
Of course, there are some exceptions to these rules, but more on that later.
For now, I want these two bullet points to be clear with some examples.
Examples using más que in Spanish
Remember, Más que makes comparisons in value that can’t be measured with numbers.
Most of the time, Más que is followed by a verb or an adverb.
Something like “You talk more than your sister”, which would be translated as “Tú hablas más que tu hermana”.
Here are some more examples though:
- Tu abuela pesa más que un gorila: Your grandma weighs more than a gorilla 😅.
- Mi abuela corre más que tu perro: My grandma runs more than my dog (healthy grandma, right?)
- María come más que tú y yo juntos: María eats more than you and me together.
- Sé que me amas más que nadie: I know you love me more than anybody.
You might also add an adverb to the sentence, like:
- Alberto estudia mucho más que yo: Aberto studies much more than me.
- Alexa ha viajado más que tu amigo Fernando: Alexa has travelled more than your friend Fernando.
Some phrases might actually have a different order, adding an object right after más and before que, like this:
- Daniel tiene más tiempo que yo para tocar guitarra: Daniel has more time than me to play the guitar.
- Eduardo tiene más dinero que Bill gates:
- Yo puedo aguantar la respiración bajo el agua más tiempo que tú: I can hold my breath under water for more time than you.
I think that makes the point clear.
Of course, if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to throw them in the comments at the end of the article.
Let’s go over más de now…
Examples using más de in Spanish
As I said before, we use más de when we want to make comparisons that include numbers.
Just like we do it in English when we say something like, “I have more than 5 dollars”, which in Spanish would be: “Tengo más de 5 dólares”.
In this sentence, you would be communicating that you have more money, more quantity, perhaps 10 dollars more.
Here are some more examples:
- La tia Gabriela tiene más de 5 gatos: Aunt Gabriela has more than 5 cats.
- Un hombre éxitoso tiene más de 3 empresas: A succesful man has more than 3 companies.
- Ese cantante tiene más de 32 premios internacionales: That singer has more than 32 international awards.
- Unos ladrones le robaron más de 50 millones de dólares al banco: Some thieves stole more than 50 million dollars to the bank.
- La humanidad ha lanzado más de 100 satélites al espacio: Mankind has launched more than 100 sattelites to the space.
- Tienes más de 1 hora de retraso: You’re more than 1 hour late.
In the following video you may hear some more examples using Más Que and Más de in Spanish:
However, when we use más de, there’s one exception that you need to be aware of.
The ‘not everything is about numbers’ exception
Let’s go back to the first example I gave you using más de.
Remember what that was?
It was, “tengo más de 5 dólares”.
If you say that, you’re communicating that you have more than 5 dollars and you can count until the current amount you have.
Perhaps you have 10 dollars, or maybe 50 bucks… whatever it is, it’s a quantity you can count to.
However, if you want to compare those 5 bucks of yours against something more valuable, which you just can’t count with numbers, you can say:
“Tengo más que 5 dólares”
What does that mean?
It means, that whatever else you have is more valuable than 5 dollars, like a check, a property, something you CAN NOT COUNT using numbers.
So, to be more specific, you could complement your phrase like this:
Tengo más que 5 dólares. Tengo un cheque con mucho dinero.
Now, in Spanish we also make comparisons to “fewer things”, and to do that, we use…
Menos Que and Menos De in Spanish
And it works exactly the same as it does with Más Que and Más De, the same rules apply.
The only difference is that we’re comparing to less.
In other words:
- We use Menos que to make general comparisons between things or objects that have more value than a quantitative comparison. It can’t be measured with numbers.
- But, we use Menos de to make comparisons between quantities and everything that has to do with numbers.
Here are some examples using Menos Que:
- Los humanos viven menos que las tortugas: Humans live less than turtles.
- En los años 90, los computadores eran menos poderosos que un teléfono actual: In the 90’s computers were less powerful than a current phone.
- Luigi corre menos que Mario: Luigi runs less than Mario.
- Mi maleta pesa menos que la tuya: My backpack is less heavy than yours.
Here are some examples using Menos De:
- Visité Francia con menos de 500 dólares: I visited France with less than 500 dollars.
- Golpearon a Beto, lo dejaron con menos de 5 dientes: They punched Beto, they left him with less than 5 teeth.
- La batería de mi teléfono morirá, tiene menos de 5 por ciento: My phone’s battery will die, it has less than 5 per cent.
- Esta camiseta costó menos de un dólar: This T-shirt was less than a dollar.
And that’s how it works!
Mostly, the ones who have more trouble understanding this grammar point are English speakers.
However, once you hear them many times, and you begin to use them in your conversations, it’ll be easier to understand.
So… to sum-up:
- We use Más Que and Menos Que to compare things that can’t be measured with numbers. You can’t count them.
- We use Más de and Menos de To compare things that can be counted using numbers.
Make these differences an automatic brain task
After understanding the difference between these two phrases a good question would be:
How do native speakers use these phrases so effortlessly?
Don’t they need to think of the differences of the phrases?
Straight answer: NO.
Native speakers never analyze the language this way. Their words come out of their mouth easily and automatically.
So, where’s the magic trick? how do they do it?
They learned the language very differently than how people do it when they learn grammar rules to learn Spanish.
And that’s exactly what you have to do to make Spanish come out of your mouth automatically.
You have to emulate what native speakers did when they were learning Spanish.
I describe exactly what you need to do to learn Spanish that way in In my free guide:
7 Steps to Understand Fast Speaking Native Speakers Through Compelling Listening Stories.
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