Using the adverb bien as an intensifier (very)

We can use the adverb bien, meaning very/quite, as an intensifier, followed by adjectives and some adverbs. Here are some examples:

Ayer comí un plato de arroz bien rico. Yesterday I ate a very tasty rice dish.

Tu hijos son bien serios.Your sons are very/quite serious.

Lo tengo bien atado.I have it well tied up.

Estás bien delgada. Tu dieta funciona.You are very slim. Your diet is working.

Notice how it works like muy and bastante; the word bien is invariable but the adjectives that follow need to agree with the noun:

Estás muy/bastante/bien delgada.

Estáis muy/bastante/bien gordos.

The intensifier bien can also be used with some adverbs. For example:

Me dieron una cita bien rápido.They gave me an appontment very quickly.

Llegamos bien tarde a la fiesta.We arrived at the party very late.

We can even use bien and mal together, instead of muy mal, meaning "very bad". For example:

- ¿Cómo está Roberto? - Está bien mal después de escuchar la mala noticia.- How is Roberto? - He is pretty bad after hearing the bad news.
Iin Spain, this use of bien is less common than the more generally used muy. In some Latin American countries this specific use of bien is more frequent. Also note that bien as an intensifier is slightly more colloquial than muy.

See also:

 

 

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Examples and resources

Tu hijos son bien serios.Your sons are very/quite serious.
Estás bien delgada. Tu dieta funciona.You are very slim. Your diet is working.
- ¿Cómo está Roberto? - Está bien mal después de escuchar la mala noticia.- How is Roberto? - He is pretty bad after hearing the bad news.
Ayer comí un plato de arroz bien rico. Yesterday I ate a very tasty rice dish.
Llegamos bien tarde a la fiesta.We arrived at the party very late.
Me dieron una cita bien rápido.They gave me an appontment very quickly.
Lo tengo bien atado.I have it well tied up.
Me siento bien mal. Ahora me arrepiento.I feel very bad. Now I am regretting it.
Let me take a look at that...