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Published on: Grammar Bites

Uses of Gustar and other verbs like it

As you know, en español we use el verbo gustar to talk about likes, dislikes, hobbies, and personal preferences in general. And, unlike most Spanish verbs, gustar has a very particular conjugation that it shares with some other similar verbs. Let’s take a look at the uses and conjugation for gustar and other verbs like it!

One of the main characteristics of the verb gustar is that it does not agree with the pronoun (ie, with the person doing the action, yo tú, él, etc) but with the object that represents the thing, person or activity that we like. For this reason, gustar only has two conjugation forms: singular and plural. Thus, in the present tense, we can say:

  • Me gusta la película. I like the movie. —> Singular object = singular verb conjugation.
  • Me gustan las películas. I like movies. ––> Plural objects = plural verb conjugations.

If the thing that we like is an action, we conjugate the verb in the singular form:

  • Me gusta ver películas. I like watching movies.
Typical structure for gustar:

(a + object pronoun) + indirect object pronoun + verbo gustar  + object (noun or verb)

Please note that when we use a + pronoun, we put emphasis on the person who likes something.

 

  • A él le gusta el libro de Borges. / He likes Borges’ book.
  • A él le gustan los libros de Borges. / He likes Borges’ books.
  • A ellos les gusta leer los libros de Borges. / They like reading Borges’  books.

The agreement between the pronounwhich is the object of the preposition a, and the indirect object pronoun is as follows:

Pronoun, Object of the Preposition Indirect Object Pronoun
 / to me me
 / to you (singular & informal) te
él/ella/usted / to him/her/you (sing. & formal) le
nosotros/as / to us (masculine/feminine) nos
vosotros/as / to you (plural, informal, masc/fem) os
ellos/as, a ustedes / to them (masc/fem) / to you (plural and informal) les
VERBS LIKE GUSTAR

Many verbs follow the same conjugation pattern as “gustar”. The following are some of the most frequently used ones:

1) Parecer. To seem.

  • Me parece que lloverá mañana. It seems to me that it’s going to rain tomorrow.

2) Encantar. To love something, be delighted by.

  • Nos encanta ir a la playa. We love going to the beach.

3) Molestar. To be bothered by.

  • A María le molesta que siempre llegue tarde. It bothers Maria that he is always late.

4) Arder. To feel a burning sensation.

  • Cuando nado en la piscina, me arden los ojos. When I swim in the pool, my eyes burn.

5) Fastidiar. To be irritated, to be annoyed.

  • A mucha gente le fastidia la arrogancia del nuevo jefe.  Lots of people are annoyed by the arrogance of the new boss.

6) Interesar. To be interested in.

  • A Pedro no le interesa la política. Pedro is not interested in politics.

7) Doler. To hurt, to be painful.

  • Me duele la cabeza. I have a headache.

8) Preocupar. To worry.

  • A los padres de Benjamín les preocupa mucho su estado de salud. Benjamin’ parents are very worried about his health.

9) Quedar. To suit, to fit, to have left.

  • Te queda bien ese calor de pelo. That hair color suits you.
  • Nos quedan dos días para salir de excursión a las islas del Caribe. We have two days left before leaving on our trip of the Caribbean islands. 

10) Caer bien/mal. To like/dislike a person (not used in a romantic sense.)

  • A María no le caen bien los amigos de su hermano. Maria doesn’t like her brother’s friends.

11) Agradar. To like (not used in a romantic sense.)

  • ¿Te agradan tus vecinos? Do you like your neighbors?

12) Importar. To care about.

  • A ella no le importa lo que piensan los demás. She doesn’t care about what other people think.
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