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How do you say "more than" in Spanish? In translating a sentence such as "she has more than $5" (tiene más de cinco dólares) you should use the phrase más de, but for a sentence such as "she has more than I do" (tiene más que yo) the phrase to use is más de. Similarly, two phrases — menos que and menos de are used for "less than." This is explained further in our lesson on "more than" and "less than."

As you learn Spanish, you'll come across other instances where an English word or phrase can be translated in two (or more!) distinct ways. Some of them that can trip up beginners are these:

In each case, you can learn which is the correct word to use by following the most important rule of translation: Translate for meaning rather than word for word.

Comments

June 2, 2009 at 6:56 pm
(1) Edian says:

Hi! Just a correction, you put the same phrase (más de) in both situations, but the second situation it’s más que.

Thanks!

June 13, 2009 at 2:17 pm
(2) sadf says:

ty vm!

June 13, 2009 at 2:17 pm
(3) dfds says:

very helpful

August 1, 2010 at 10:24 pm
(4) furrykef says:

Another example contrasting “de” and “que”, if my understanding is correct:

Compró más de cinco libros.
“He bought more than five books.” (e.g., six, seven, eight…)

Compró más que cinco libros.
“He bought more [stuff] than [just] five books.” (e.g., cards, video games, toys…)

I grant that the latter is unlikely, but at times it may occur nevertheless.

October 9, 2011 at 11:31 pm
(5) cwc says:

thanks furrykef, very nice point.

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