Probably one of the most commonly used verbs in Spanish, GUSTAR is a must to get to grips with from the start! “Me gusta” is one of the very first phrases you will learn, but here’s a quick explanation of really understanding how to use it and to apply this rule to other similar verbs too.
Gustar is important in Spanish. As you can probably tell, the people and language itself are quite emotive and so verbs of preference are often used by Spaniards to express themselves. Gustar means “to like” in English. It confuses many English speakers learning Spanish, as the way it is used and conjugated is different than in English.
In English you would say I LIKE but in Spanish you would say ME GUSTA or ME GUSTAN.
How to use the verb “gustar”:
Me gusta el té (I like tea)
Me gustan las manzanas (I like apples)
The subject for these phrases is not I (yo), but the thing or things that are liked (tea or apples).
The usage of “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 combination with other verbs in the infinitive form (to read, to swim etc.) to talk about what we like doing. In this case, we will always put the singular form: “gusta”.
Me gusta bailar (I like dancing)
Nos gusta viajar (We like travelling)
Verbs that fall in the same group:
> Caer bien or caer mal (means to like or dislike someone)
Me caen bien mis compañeros de trabajo: I like my work workmates
> Encantar (to love)
Me encantan los perros: I love dogs
> Doler (to hurt)
Me duele la cabeza: My head hurts
Me duelen los pies: My feet hurt
A mí, A tí, A él…
Sometimes we have the prepositional phrase A + mí (or tí etc.) before “me gusta“. This is used to give more emphasis that the person likes something and to make it clear who that person is.
A él/ella le gusta bailar (he/she likes dancing) – translates as he/she really does like dancing!
If you would like to learn more about Spanish grammar and how to use it on a practical level, then why not visit Spain and join a Spanish course?
Click here to learn more about our Spanish language courses.