To ask how much/many [of something] we use in Spanish the interrogative adjective:
cuánto/-a/-os/as = how much/how many
As an adjective, it agrees in gender and number with the noun that is accompanying. For example:
In direct questions
¿Cuánto pan hay?How much bread is there?
¿Cuánta harina necesitas para el pastel?How much flour do you need for the cake?
¿Cuántos años tiene Luisa?How old is Luisa?
¿Cuántas amigas van a ir a tu fiesta?How many [female] friends are coming to your party?
- el pan (masculine singular) = cuánto
- la harina (feminine singular) = cuánta
- los años (masculine plural) = cuántos
- las amigas (feminine plural) = cuántas
In indirect questions
No sé cuánto pan hay.I don't know how much bread there is.
Dime cuánta harina necesitas para el pastel.Tell me how much flour you need for the cake.
Mi madre está preguntando cuántos años tiene Luisa.My mum is asking how old Luisa is.
Quiero saber cuántas amigas van a ir a tu fiesta.I want to know how many friends are going to your party.
In exclamatory sentences
¡Cuánto tráfico!So much traffic!
¡Cuánta gente hay en este bar!There are so many people in this bar!
¡Cuántos regalos has recibido!You received so many presents!
¡Cuántas horas he tenido que esperar para ver al médico!I had to wait so many hours to see the doctor!
Bear in mind that cuánto can also be a pronoun if the noun is not mentioned when we know what it is referring to:
-He comprado algunas camisas. -¿Cuántas?-I bought some shirts. -How many?
-Pagué mucho dinero por ese coche. -¿Cuánto?-I paid a lot of money for that car. -How much?
Remember that in all the above cases cuánto and all its forms have a written accent on the -a.
To learn about cuanto/cuanta/cuantos/cuantas (with no accent) see this more advance lesson:
Difference between cuánto and cuanto (with and without accent)
For interrogative adverbs cómo, dónde, cuándo see:
Using cómo, dónde and cuándo in interrogative, exclamatory and indirect sentences
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