The Spanish verb gustar: how to use it (and other related verbs)
The verb gustar is a tricky one for new Spanish learners because of its unique structure. If you can use it correctly, a whole new world will open up for you. We’ll go over how to use it, how to conjugate it, and give examples of verbs that use a similar structure.
How to use the verb gustar
The verb gustar (and other related verbs: encantar, agobiar, doler, preocupar) has a different structure than most of the other Spanish verbs:
Me gusta el café. (I like coffee)
Me gustan las flores. (I like flowers)
The subject for these phrases is not yo, but the thing or things that are liked (coffee or flowers).
Look at some more examples:
Te gusta el color azul. (You like the colour blue).
Literally: The colour blue is pleasing to you.
te = indirect object
gusta = verb
el color azul = subject
A ella le gustan los gatos. (She likes cats)
Literally: Cats are pleasing to her.
A ella le = indirect object
gustan = verb
los gatos = subject
As you can see, using gusta or gustan depends on the word that follows the verb. Depending on what you like, you choose the singular – gusta – or plural – gustan – form. Gustar can also be used in the infinitive form to talk about actions that we like. In this case, we will always use the singular form gusta.
Le gusta cocinar. (He likes to cook.)
Nos gusta ir de vacaciones. (We like to go on vacation.)
Les gusta platicar por teléfono. (They like to chat on the phone.)
Now that you understand that whatever word follows the verb gustar is the subject, you can understand these examples better:
Me gustas (tú). (I like you)
Literally: You are pleasing to me.
me = indirect object
gustas = verb
tú = subject
In this sentence, the subject is tú, so we have to make an agreement between tú and the verb which is why the S is added. The tú is optional because of the special feature of Spanish that includes who we are talking about within the verb.
(A tus amigos) les gusto (yo). (Your friends like me.)
Literally: I am pleasing to your friends.
(a tus amigos) le = indirect object
gusto = verb
yo = subject
How to conjugate the verb gustar
We conjugate the verb in the third person singular or plural forms: gusta and gustan, determined by the thing (or things) that we like.
Verbs that have the same structure
aburrir (to bore)
Me aburren las pelis de acción. (Action films bore me.)
agobiar (to overwhelm)
A los bebés les agobia mucho ruido. (Babies are overwhelmed by a lot of noise.)
caer bien/mal (to like/dislike someone)
Caigo mal a mi profe de castellano. (My Spanish teacher doesn’t like me.)
encantar (to love/enchant)
Me encanta aprender nuevos idiomas. (I love to learn new languages.)
doler (to hurt)
Me duelen los pies de tanto bailar. (My feet hurt from dancing so much.)
fascinar (to fascinate/love)
A mi padre le fascinan los discos de los setentas. (My dad loves records from the seventies.)
impresionar (to impress)
A mis primos les impresionó ver tantos rascacielos en la ciudad. (Seeing so many skyscrapers in the city impressed by cousins.)
interesar (to interest)
No nos interesan las mismas cosas. (We’re not interested in the same things.)
molestar (to bother)
Le molesta la contaminación. (Pollution bothers her)
parecer (to seem/resemble)
¿ Os parece una buena idea? (Does it seem like a good idea to you?)
preocupar (to worry)
A mis abuelos les preocupan los hábitos de los jóvenes. (My grandparents are worried about young people’s habits.)
quedar (to fit)
No te quedó bien esa falda que te probaste. (The skirt that you tried on didn’t fit you well.)
We hope that these examples made it clear on how to use the verb gustar and other related verbs. Let us know if you have any questions or comments. If you want to learn Spanish in Barcelona, check out our classes in the heart of the city.