EL VERBO GUSTAR

THE VERB GUSTAR

The verb "gustar" (to like) belongs to a special category of verbs in Spanish. These verbs function differently from the ones we have seen so far in two ways:

1.- They do not use subject pronouns such as YO o TÚ, instead they use the indirect object pronouns (ME, TE, LE, NOS, OS, LES).

2.- They do not have 6 different endings according to the person doing the action. They only have two endings: one for singular, one for plural.

The way we would conjugate a verb like GUSTAR would be as follows:

SINGULAR FORM PLURAL FORM
ME GUSTA

ME GUSTAN

TE GUSTA TE GUSTAN
LE GUSTA LE GUSTAN
NOS GUSTA NOS GUSTAN
OS GUSTA OS GUSTAN
LES GUSTA

LES GUSTAN

The singular forms are used when only one thing is liked whereas the plural forms are used when more than one thing is liked.

Example: Me gusta el café (I like coffee)
  Me gustan los coches rojos (I like red cars)

There is not a total equivalence between the Spanish sentence and the English translation. The reason for that is that in English the verb "to like" works with a direct object. In a sentence like " I like the room", "I" would be the subject; "like" would be the verb and "the room" would be the direct object. In Spanish we use a different construction. Basically, if we were to translate the sentence "I like the room" into Spanish we would say "The room is pleasing to me". The meaning is the same, they are different expressions of the same idea. In Spanish the subject of the sentence is not the person but the object, in this case, "the room"; the verb would be "is pleasing" and the indirect object would be "to me".

Sometimes there might be cases where the sentence could be ambiguous such as in "Le gusta la casa" which could be understood as

1.- He likes the house

2.- She likes the house

3.- You (usted) like the house

To avoid this kind of ambiguity it is quite common to add a prepositional phrase at the beginning of the sentence, which would clarify the issue.

1.- A él le gusta la casa.

2.- A ella le gusta la casa.

3.- A usted le gusta la casa.

The structure of GUSTAR in sentences would be as follows:

GUSTA + singular noun Me gusta la casa
GUSTA + infinitive Me gusta cantar
GUSTAN + plural nouns Me gustan las películas románticas

OTHER VERBS LIKE GUSTAR

INTERESAR TO INTEREST
ENCANTAR TO REALLY LIKE, TO LOVE
IMPORTAR TO BE IMPORTANT TO

 

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