The Spanish Verb Gustar

Using The Verb Gustar – To Like

The Spanish Verb Gustar is very important to know ...

When you’re in a Spanish-speaking country, there will be times when you’ll want to communicate that you like – or don’t like – something, such as your dinner or accommodation.

Of course, you’ll want to say it correctly.

The Spanish verb gustar basically means “to like.” It can also mean “to find pleasant” or “to approve of.” You would also use forms of the verb gustar to extend an invitation or make a request. So let’s begin to decipher this handy Spanish verb.

Grasp this KEY CONCEPT and you are halfway there!

A key thing to grasp is that the way that the verb gustar is used, which is different to the way it is used in English.

The Spanish basically say, "It is PLEASING TO ME the such and such..."

English speakers would say, "I like bread." But Spanish speakers would say: It is pleasing to me bread / the bread.

An alternative approach

Gustar is a special intransitive Verb

The Spanish construction is the opposite to English.

The English subject becomes the Spanish Indirect Object
the English Object becomes the Spanish subject.e.g.

I like the dog.
Subject = I
Object = the dog

Me gusta el perro.
Subject = el perro
Indirect object = me

Me gusta means “I like” in Spanish …

You can use it to indicate that you like or approve of an object or a place:

Me gusta esta blusa.
I like this blouse.

Me gusta la comida.
I like the food.

Me gusta ese parque.
I like that park.

You can also use me gusta to express that you enjoy an activity:

Me gusta ir a la playa.
I like to go to the beach.

Me gusta bailar.
I like to dance.

Me gusta leer.
I like to read.

The Spanish Indirect Object Pronouns

These are used with the Spanish verb gustar

me = to me

te = to you (informal, singular)

le = to him,her, it, you (formal, singular)

nos = to us

os = to you (familiar, plural)

les = to them, to you (formal, plural)

No me gusta means “I don’t like” in Spanish …

If you dislike or disapprove of something, you can say it with no me gusta:

No me gusta este lugar.
I don’t like this place.

No me gusta ese coche.
I don’t like that car.

No me gusta el postre.
I don’t like the dessert.

Or you can state that you don’t enjoy a specific activity:

No me gusta correr.
I don’t like to run.

No me gusta conducir.
(or alternately: No me gusta manejar.)
I don’t like to drive.

Me gustan / No me gustan

To say that you like or dislike more than one of something (the plural form), add an “n” to gusta:

Me gustan las fresas.
I like strawberries.

No me gustan las hormigas.
I don’t like ants.

Using the Spanish verb Gustar


Formal / Informal
To ask someone a question formally rather than informally, replace ”Te” with ”Le”

Plural Form

If you are asking two or more people a question, use ”Les” instead of ”Te” or ”Le”.

Practice the following to familiarize yourself with the Spanish verb gustar.

Me gusta tomar café.
I like to drink coffee.

Me gustan los deportes.
I like sports.

¿Te gusta ir al cine?
Do you like going to the movies?

¿Te gustan estas manzanas? Do you like these apples?

Le gusta cantar.
He/she likes to sing.

No le gusta esperar.
He/she doesn’t like to wait.

Nos gusta hablar.
We like to talk.

Nos gustan los libros.
We like the books.

No nos gusta la música.
We don’t like the music.

No nos gustan las camas.
We don’t like the beds.

No les gusta viajar.
They don’t like to travel.

¿Les gusta viajar?
Do you (pl.) like to travel?

Alternate Sentence Structures of the Spanish verb gustar

gustar más = to prefer

Me gusta más la primera pelicula.
I prefer the first film.

Le gusta más el vestido rojo.
She prefers the red dress.

Also, Me gustaría más … = I would prefer …

You may hear other ways of using the Spanish verb gustar in a sentence. The following sentences are perfectly correct and acceptable.

A mi me gustan los relojes.

Translated literally, this says, “To me are pleasing the clocks” or “To me, I like the clocks.” But of course, it means, “I like the clocks.”

Here are more ways you may hear the Spanish verb gustar used:

A él le gusta la ensalada.
He likes the salad.

A ella le gusta la ensalada.
She likes the salad.

A ellos les gusta la ensalada.
They like the salad.

A nosotros nos gusta la ensalada.
We like the salad.

Extending An Invitation

Change the form of Spanish verb gustar to gustaría - to extend an invitation.

It is the conditional tense and means “would like”.

It is also the more polite version.

To invite a woman:

Me gustaría invitarla a cenar.
I’d like to invite you to dinner.

To invite a man:

Me gustaría invitarlo a cenar.
I’d like to invite you to dinner.

To invite two or more people:

Me gustaría invitarlos a cenar.
I’d like to invite you to dinner.

To invite two or more women:

Me gustaría invitarlas a cenar.
I’d like to invite you to dinner.

To ask someone formally if he or she would like to join you:

¿Le gustaría tomar un café conmigo?
Would you like to join me for a cup of coffee?

To ask someone casually if he or she would like to join you:

¿Te gustaría tomar un café conmigo?
Would you like to join me for a cup of coffee?

To ask two or more people if they would like to join you:

¿Les gustaría tomar un café conmigo?
Would you like to join me for a cup of coffee?

Making An Offer

Change the form of the Spanish verb gustar to Gustaría when you want to make an offer or to offer your services:

Me gustaría venderle este libro.
I would like to sell you this book.

Me gustaría ayudarle.
I would like to help you.

Making A Request

Gustaría also comes in handy to make a request:

Me gustaría toallas limpias.
I would like clean towels.

Me gustaría descansar.
I would like to rest.

Other useful Spanish Verbs constructed like gustar

encantar = to charm, to fascinate, to love to(colloquial)

faltar = to need, to be short of, to have missing

quedar = to be or have left

doler = to hurt, to have a pain or ache in

interesar = to be interested in

importar = to mind

Written by Graciela Sholander.

Spanish verb gustar and other free Spanish lessons.

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