Gustar: To Like

Gustar is a very unique verb in the Spanish language because it doesn’t conjugate as the other verbs. Let’s take a look.

Let’s take an example sentence of “I like the sea.” Here, we have us as the subject (I), performing an action (like) on an object (the sea.) But in Spanish, when we talk about liking something or someone, the sentence construction is more like, “The sea is pleasing to me.”

Note that with gustar, what we would normally think of as the object (the sea) becomes the subject of the sentence—it performs the verb of “being pleasing,” and you become the indirect object (you are who the subject is pleasing to).

So to show the person doing the liking, we have to use:

“Indirect object pronoun + 3rd person (singular or plural) verb + noun “

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Me gusta(n)  I like
Te gusta(n)  You like
Le gusta(n)  He/she/You (formal) like
Nos gusta(n)  We like
Les gusta(n)  They like

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Notice that gustar has only two conjugations: gusta, or gustan. Since the thing you like is the subject of the sentence, and not you, that’s what gustar gets conjugated to. This is probably the easiest part about gustar: all you have to remember is to use gusta if the object is singular, or gustan if it’s plural.

The thing you like goes after the verb.

Me gusta.                                 I like it.
Me gustan los chocolates.    I like chocolates.
Le gusta la carne.                  He likes meat.
Te gusta el queso.                 You like cheese.

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When mentioning the name of a person, place the name between the preposition “a” and the indirect pronoun.

A Mariana le gusta la comida mexicana.    Mariana likes Mexican food.
A el le gusta los camarones.                          He likes shrimp.
A ellos le gusta el pollo.                                 They like chicken.

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Negative sentences:

To make the sentence negative, just put the word “no” before the indirect pronoun.

No me gustan las papas.                   I don’t like potatoes.
(A ellos) No les gusta el arroz.         They don’t like rice.

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