The term too much can be used as an adjective, pronoun, or adverb. The dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) recognizes more than a dozen uses of this concept that usually alludes to a magnitude, a figure or an intensity that is indefinite, but excessive.
Too much can refer to a quantity that is very large. For example: “I have too many problems to add another one”, “There are too many people in this bar, let’s go somewhere quieter”, “Given their level of activity, I think the company has too many employees”.
The idea can also reflect the valuation of something when it is linked to a singular countable noun that is used as an uncountable: “That’s too much of a car for me! I don’t want such a luxurious vehicle”, “I think it’s too much of a hotel for us”, “Too much machine for such a simple task”.
Sometimes, too much refers to a greater intensity than is convenient: “It is too hot to walk in the sun”, “It is snowing too much to walk to the restaurant”, “If it does not rain too much, this afternoon we are going to play soccer”.
Excessive time or frequency, on the other hand, can be mentioned with this adverb: “He has been in bed too long; it’s time for him to get up”, “I’m worried that my son will expose himself too much”, “I’ve cried too much and it’s time to move on”.
Although the terms are often used too much and too interchangeably, it is necessary to emphasize that they are not synonyms. While very serves to intensify an adjective, a non-comparative adverb or a prepositional phrase, to indicate a high degree of the property it mentions, the word ” too much ” always refers to an excess in said degree, and therefore serves to describe situations. negative or at least unnecessary.
Let’s look at an example to better understand this difference. If we say “Paula is a very studious girl”, we imply that Paula is a person who responsibly assumes her obligation to study, who spends prudent time reviewing her notes, reading and practicing, for example. On the other hand, «Paula is a very studious girl can refer to the fact that she cannot give up her studies for fear of failing, that she neglects her health by sleeping little, and that she even achieves results opposite to those desired.
Similarly, “You are very attentive” can be synonymous with “Thank you very much”, while “You are too attentive” can denote the suspicion that the other hides some interest that leads him to be so attentive.
Another use of too much is related to a limit that is exceeded in terms of tolerance or the ability to bear: “This is already too much! I will not allow you to continue treating me this way”, “My grandmother’s death was too much for me”.
In these last two examples, it is not necessary to add information because the interlocutor can understand by context the implicit meaning of the term too much. In the first sentence we could say that we are talking about “too much violence” or “too much injustice”, while in the second it is likely that the sender is expressing “too much sadness” or “too much suffering”.
If the feeling or sensation caused by the situation that awakens us in this use of the word too much is not so negative, then we can say that the expression “this is the last straw ” is also valid as a synonym, something that can be seen in the following sentences of example: “This is the last straw! You have n’t tidied up your room for a month now”, “Her way of addressing the employer was the last straw, and that cost her her job”, “Having her show up tonight at the party would be the last straw”.