Muy pero muy

It’s straightforward enough: muy pero muy means very but very. Or, very but VERY. It sounds strange the first time you hear it, but it’s so common in Spanish that soon you’ll be using this construction all the time. But I mean all the time. Very but very isn’t a natural way of translating the phrase, though, so let’s think of some better options.

Mi novia me hace muy pero muy feliz, y la amo con toda mi vida. 

My girlfriend makes me so incredibly happy, and I love her with all my heart.

Las posibilidades del candidato independiente pintan muy pero muy bien.

The independent candidate’s chances are looking good, and I mean really good.

¡Muy pero muy buenos días para todos! ¡Que tengan un excelente viernes!

Goooooood morning, everybody! Have a great Friday!

Tim sabe muy pero muy poquito español, pero eso es bueno porque tengo que esforzarme en pensar y hablar en inglés.

Tim knows little–and I’m talking very little–Spanish, but it’s good because I have to force myself to think and speak in English.

Are you getting a feel for it? It’s very colloquial, but it’s super common and useful. Of course, there are many other ways to intensify your adjectives and adverbs. This use of pero is also used in some other constructions. Some that come to mind are nadie pero nadietodos pero todos, and mucho pero mucho. The muy pero muy construction is by far the most common, though.

Nadie pero absolutamente nadie firmaría un contrato con términos así de ridículos.

No one–and I mean absolutely no one–would sign a contract with such ridiculous terms.

De resto, todos pero toditos eran unos mediocres totales.

As for the rest, every last one of them was utterly mediocre.

todos pero todos

According to the DRAE, the official or original construction is pero que muy. I don’t think they say that on this side of the charco, though. Very Spanish (as in from Spain).

Espero que todo les haya quedado muy pero muy, muy claro. If you’re a native Spanish speaker, don’t translate muy pero muy to very but very! Te delatará de una–it’s a dead giveaway (to those of us who speak Spanish) that you’re translating literally from Spanish, dashing any hopes you may have of passing for a native English speaker. Don’t let it be your undoing! Or am I the only one who thinks in such dramatic terms? Ah, well, as you can tell, I take Spanish very, very, (no, but really) very seriously.

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9 responses to “Muy pero muy

  1. LOVE this expression! :)

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  2. yes! this is one of my favorite expressions. I love how it’s always accompanied by a certain tone of voice and dramatic pauses!

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  3. Always learn something new from reading your blog:) I can’t wait to say this to ‘las mexicanas’ at the ESL class: “Y’all did a great — I mean, a wonderful — job!” ¡Que pases muy pero muy buenas noches!

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    • Thank you, Charles! I know that sometimes I am preaching to the choir (ie, being read by Spanish speakers who already know these little tricks), but it makes me happy to know that there are other people who learn new and helpful info from my posts. Good luck with las mexicanas! :)

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  4. Acabo de escuchar este por la primera vez hace poco. Creo que mi primer encuentro fue en “demasiado pero demasiado”.

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