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Verbs like gustar

We already covered the conjugations of regular and irregular Spanish verbs as well as reflexive verbs in present tense. In this lesson, we will introduce another group of Spanish verbs which are required to be conjugated in a different way than what we introduced in the earlier lessons.

As a reminder, let’s take the verb ir (to go) and make a sentence in present tense. “Ir” is a completely irregular verb, the conjugation of which was introduced before.

  • (Yo) voy al curso de español los martes (I go to the Spanish course on Tuesdays)

In the above sentence, “ir” is conjugated in agreement with the “subject” of the sentence which is “Yo”. Because “yo” refers to first person in singular, “ir” is conjugated as voy.  

To see the difference of the verbs which are the topic of the present lesson, let’s us take the following sentence as an example,

  • Me gusta el curso de español (I like the Spanish course)

Don’t let the sentence structure confuse you. The subject of the above sentence is “el curso”, while in its English translation it is the” I” which is the subject of the sentence and Spanish course is the object. This is because of the fact that by saying “me gusta el curso de español”, you mean something like “the Spanish course appeals to me”. But in plain English, you simply mean to say “I like the Spanish course”. This is the point what confuses learners of Spanish. Because when you try to translate Spanish sentences constructed with verbs like gustar, the object and subject of the sentences will be replaced. The point is that you don’t need to make direct translations; you just need to know which Spanish verbs fall into the same category as “gustar” and learn the correct structure of sentence building with such verbs.

Let us look at the elements of their conjugations one by one. In our example sentence “me gusta el curso de español”, me is the indirect object. In a previous lesson, we covered the indirect object pronouns in Spanish. Recall that they are as follows

me  (1st  person singular)

te (2nd person singular)

le (3rd person singular)

nos  (1st  person plural)

os (2nd person plural)

les (3rd person plural)

Let us review our example sentence for the all subject pronouns

  • Me gusta el curso de español (I like the Spanish course)
  • Te gusta el curso de español (You like the Spanish course)
  • Le gusta el curso de español (He/she likes the Spanish course)
  • Nos gusta el libro (We like Spanish course)
  • Os gusta el libro (You like the Spanish course)
  • Les gusta el libro (They like Spanish course)

How to conjugate gustar for plural nouns?

Let’s say “I like the Spanish course and the music course”.

  • me gustan el curso de español y el curso de música

This time you will say “gustan” not gusta. This is always the same when verbs like gustar are used with plural nouns.

On the other hand when you use more than one verb, you will still use gusta:

  • me gusta cantar y bailar (I like singing and dancing)

The full form

The full sentence structure of the above sentences is like the following

A mí me gusta el curso de español

A ti te gusta el curso de español

A él le gusta el curso de español

A ella le gusta el curso de español

A usted le gusta el curso de español

A nosotros/-as nos gusta el libro

A vosotros/-as os gusta el libro

A ellos/-as ustedes les gusta el libro

The part starts with (A ..) is most of the time optional. On the other hand, you must use them if you give the name of the person such as

A Carlos les gusta el curso de español (Carlos likes the Spanish course)

The complete structure for all subject pronouns s given below.

a mí me + gusta (singular nouns and verbs); gustan (plural nouns)

a ti te +  gusta (singular nouns and verbs); gustan (plural nouns)

a él/ella/usted  le + gusta (singular nouns and verbs); gustan (plural nouns)

a nosotros/nosotras nos + gusta (singular nouns and verbs); gustan (plural nouns)

a vosotros/vosotras os + gusta (singular nouns and verbs); gustan (plural nouns)

a ellos/ellas/ustedes les + gusta (singular nouns and verbs); gustan (plural nouns)

Questions and negative sentences

As explained in lesson asking questions in Spanish, there is no difference between a statement sentence and a yes/no question:

So you make a statement like

  • te gusta cantar (you like to sing)

ask a question like

¿ Te gusta cantar ? (Do you like to sing?)

Important: when asking back such a question, you will not use “y ¿ tú?” instead you should use  ¿y a ti?

  • me gusta. ¿y a ti? (I like it. And you?)

To ask open questions you can use the following structure

  • ¿Qué tipo de música te gusta? (what kind of music do you like?)

And a possible answer is

  • La música clásica

 To make a negative sentence place a “No” before the indirect object:

  • No me gusta el curso de gramática (I don’t like the grammar course)

Adverbs to use for liking and disliking

The following adverbs are very handy to express the degree of liking or disliking.

Nada (not at all), bastante (quite a lot), mucho (much), demasiado (very much)

liking

  • me gusta demasiado (I like it quite a lot)
  • me gusta mucho (I like it a lot)
  • me gusta mucho (I like it much)

disliking

  • no me gusta demasidao (I don’t quite like it)
  • no me gusta mucho (I don’t like it much)
  • no me gusta nada (I don’t like it at all)

There are many other verbs which operate like gustar. They are listed below.

Vocabulary

List of verbs which act like gustar

aburrir to bore 

bastar to be enough 

cansar to tire

convenir to suit

doler to hurt 

encantar to love

entusiasmar to excite 

faltar to be missing

fascinar to fascinate 

fastidiar to annoy 

horrorizar to horify

importar to matter

interesar to interest

irritar to irritate

molestar to disturb 

picar to sting, to bite

preocupar to worry

repugnar to disgust 

tocar to concern 

Let's Practice

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All Exercises