Updated: Mar 12
The verb gustar is used to express tastes, desires, dislikes, interests, preferences and feelings. The verb gustar has a special structure in Spanish. In English you would say I LIKE but in Spanish you would NOT say yo gusto (incorrect). In Spanish you would say ME GUSTA or ME GUSTAN.
Here are some examples of gustar in action:
Me gusta el coche. (I like the car.)
Nos gustan los coches. (We like the cars.)
Le gustan los coches. (You/he/she likes the cars.)
Why is this? Because instead of directly meaning like, it actually means that something is pleasing for you. When we say, "I like the car," the meaning is much the same as saying, "the car is pleasing to me." In plural form, it becomes "the cars are pleasing to me," with a plural verb.
Conjugation of "Gustar"
Because gustar is nearly always used with subjects in the third person, it is often considered a defective verb. However, it can also be used with other subjects to talk about liking different people.
With this verb you do not use the personal pronouns of subject (yo, tú, él, ella, usted, nosotros, nosotras, vosotros, vosotras, ellos, ellas, ustedes) as with the other verbs. Instead, it is mandatory to put first the Indirect Object Pronoun corresponding to each person (me, te, le, nos, os, les). Behind these pronouns followed the verb gustar, which does not have six forms like the rest of verbs in Spanish, but only usually conjugates in the third person of the singular and in third person of the plural (gusta or gustan present indicative).
- Me gusta el dulce .... I like candy.
- Me gustan los perros... I like dogs
- Nos gusta viajar ... We like travel.
Followed the verb is placed 'what you like', which can be a person, a thing or a verb, and which matches in number (singular or plural) with the verb.
- If you want to say that you like doing something, then you use Gusta + Infinitive (verb)
- if you want to talk about liking things, then we use Gusta + nouns (Singular Form) or Gusta + nouns (Plural Form)
A mí, A tí, A él...
You will notice that many times we have the prepositional phrase A + mí (a ti, a él, a ella, a usted, a nosotros, a vosotros, a ellos, a ellas y a ustedes) before the me gusta (o te gusta, etc.). This is sometimes used to give more emphasis about the person who is liking the thing but also to clarify when they may be a doubt about who that person is, although they are not obligatory. Let's see some example
-If we say Le gusta estar con sus amigas, we don't know if the person who likes to be with his friends is a man, a woman or even you. So to clarify we had the prepositional phrase
This chart shows the proper pronouns to use before gusta(n). Use gusta with singular nouns and verbs and gustan for plural nouns.
Negative Sentences using "gustar"
Making a negative sentence with the verb gustar is simple. You just add "no" between the prepositional phrase A + mí (a ti, etc.) and the Indirect Object Pronoun (me, te, le etc.)
Other expression using the verb Gustar and the comparative.
- (No) Me/… + gusta + poco/bastante/mucho/muchísimo/un montón (coloquial)/ una barbaridad/… + infinitivo
Listening Activity No. 1: The verb GUSTAR in Spanish
Listening Activity No. 2: A mí me gusta el rock"
More fun activities in this video."Preferencias- A mí me gusta el rock" Watch and practice here. Write your answer in the comments.
Listening Activity No. 3: Free Handout
Download this free handout and start practicing today.
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Español Latino Team.