Gustar and other similar verbs in Spanish


GUSTAR is a verb which has a different grammar construction. Not only gustar, gustar and other similar verbs in Spanish. Instead of following the form “person who likes + verb + the object liked,” as in English, in Spanish it follows the form “indirect-object (pronoun representing the person who likes) + verb + the object liked.” The object liked is the subject in Spanish.

The indirect objects pronouns are me, te, le, nos, os and les.

Here a tip I give to my students: Instead of thinking of gustar as meaning “to like,” it is better to think of it as meaning “to be pleasing.” When we say, “I like the ice-cream,” (me gusta el helado) the meaning is much the same as saying, “the ice-cream is pleasing to me.” In plural form, it becomes “the ice-creams are pleasing to me,” with a plural verb (me gustan los helados).

  • Me gusta el helado. I like the ice-cream. The ice-cream is pleasing to me.
  • Nos gustan los helados. We like the ice-creams. The ice-creams are pleasing to us.

Another thing to bear in mind: when the object liked is a verb (an action or activity), the verb gustar is used in singular. For example:

  • Me gusta nadar. I like swimming. Swimming is pleasing to me.

When the pronoun le or les is used, the context might not always make clear who is the person doing the liking. In that case, you can add the prepositional phrase “a + the person liking” as shown below at the beginning of the sentence (or less commonly at the end of the sentence). Note that the indirect-object pronoun cannot be omitted; the prepositional phrase clarifies the indirect-object pronoun rather than replacing it.

  • A Pedro le gusta el coche. Pedro likes the car.
  • A Marta le gustan las camionetas. Marta likes the pickups.
  • ¿A ustedes les gusta el coche? Do you (plural) like the car?

Althought it is not necessary to make the sentence clearer, it is also posible to say:

A mí me gusta el coche / A ti te gusta el coche / A nosotros nos gusta el coche / A vosotros os gusta el coche

Something else: when the statement is negative, you have to say “no” before the indirect-object pronoun. For example:

  • No me gusta el helado
  • A Pedro no le gusta el coche

 

However, gustar isn’t the only verb that follows that pattern. As you become familiar with Spanish, you will come across at least a dozen other verbs that are used in the same manner. Here the most used ones:

Gustar and other similar verbs in Spanish

Encantar: “to enchant or delight” and is often used in English sentences using forms of “to be delighted” or “to love” in a not romantic sense. Me encanta bailar , I love dancing.

Interesar: “to interest”. For example: Me interesa la literatura, Literature interests me.

Caer bien / mal: “to make a good / bad impression”. Example: Ese chico me cae bien, That boy makes me a good impression

Molestar: “to bother or to disturb”. Example: El ruido me molesta, The noise bothers me.

Preocupar: “to give cause of concern”. Example: Esta situación me preocupa, This situation gives me causes of concern.

Fascinar: “to fascínate”. Example: Las películas me fascinan, The movies fascinate me

Parecer: “to seem”. Example: Me parece una buena idea, It seems to me a good idea.

Faltar: “to be lacking,” used when someone lacks or needs something, or if something is missing. Me falta por comprar azúcar. I still need to buy sugar. Volví a casa, y me faltó mi computadora, I returned home, and my computer was missing. Hacer falta (“to make a shortfall”) is used in a similar way. Me hacen falta tres pesos, I’m three pesos short.

Quedar:  “to remain” or “to be left,”. Examples : Nos queda una hora, we have an hour left. Me quedan diez dólares, I have ten dollars left.

Sobrar: It can be used somewhat like quedar and means “to be left over.” Me sobran diez dólares, I have ten dollars left over.

 

Fill this dialog Completa este diálogo

 

Answers below! Respuestas más abajo

 

A: ¿____ gusta el cine?

B: Sí, ____ ___________

A: ¿Qué tipo de películas?

B: ____ __________ las películas de terror, como el Proyecto de la Bruja de Blair. ¿Te gusta?

A: No. A mí ____ ____________ mucho las películas musicales, sobre todo las de jazz. ¿A vos te gustan?

B: No. A mí _____ __________ las de ciencia ficción

 Answers / Respuestas: Te / me gusta / me gustan / me gustan

 

Write sentences using the following words. Escribir oraciones usando este grupo de palabras

Answers below! Respuestas más abajo

 

 

Ejemplo:   Yo/ no gustar/ esta película.          No me gusta esta película.

 

  1. Yo/ no gustar/ las reuniones.

 

  1. Carlos/ encantar/ esquiar.

 

  1. Carlos y Estela/preocupar/ el examen final.

 

  1. Mi amigo/ preocupar/ la política.

 

  1. Mis padres/ interesar/ la astrología.

 

  1. Pedro y Lucía/fascinar/ la música clásica.

 

  1. Nosotros/ caer mal/ políticos.

 

  1. ¿Vos/ molestar/ la contaminación?

 

Answers / Respuestas:

  1. A mí no me gustan las reunions
  2. A Carlos le encanta esquiar
  3. A mi amigo le preocupa la política
  4. A mis padres les interesa la astrología
  5. A Pedro y a Lucía les fascina la música clásica
  6. A nosotros nos caen mal los políticos
  7. ¿A vos te molesta la contaminación?

Hope this helped you to understand Gustar and other similar verbs in Spanish!

Marina Boschi


About Marina Boschi

Teacher of Spanish as a foreign language. Professor of Philosophy. University of Buenos Aires. Passions: I love writing.

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