The different meanings of the verb gustar in Spanish

Gustar is a special verb in Spanish and you have to be careful with it because as opposed to English, when you say I like this, in Spanish you say that it is pleasing to you. This basically means that in Spanish, these sentences look a bit weird for English speakers, because verbs such as gustar need an indirect object pronoun in order to function. If you are a bit confused, I guess it is better for us to start out with an example. Below is the same sentence in English and Spanish.

English: I like chocolate

Spanish: Me gusta el chocolate (= Chocolate is pleasing to me)

There are some other verbs that act the same as gustar:

  • Disgustar- to upset, displease
  • Faltar -to lack, need
  • Fascinar- to fascinate
  • Importar- to be important
  • Interesar- to interest
  • Parecer- to seem
  • Quedar- to remain to someone, have left

Now, lets take a look at the verb gustar and use it to form a few sentences, just to see how it acts for every person.

  • Me gusta bailar, – I like to dance
  • Te gusta cantar. – You like to sing
  • Le gusta dormir. – He/ She likes to sleep.
  • Nos gusta correr. – We like to run
  • Os gusta comer chocolate.- You like to eat chocolate.
  • Les gusta leer libros. – They like to read books.

Now, lets see how the verb acts when we like more than one thing.

  • Me gustan las flores y las plantas.- I like flowers and plants
  • Te gustan los viajes con tu familia.- You like the trips with your family.
  • Le gustan los juegos de mesa. – He / She likes board games.

Now, if there is more than one verb after gustar, the verb gustar stays the same. Here are some examples:

  • Me gusta cantar y bailar. – I like to sing and dance
  • Nos gusta dormir y comer.- We like to sleep and eat.
  • Te gusta nadar y hacer yoga.- You like to swim and do yoga.

Besides this peculiarity of the verb gustar, it also has some other meanings besides to like. Here are some of them:

  1. feel and perceive the taste of things, as in: Gustar el vino

In this example, liking is very close to the sense of taste, can be replaced by the verb savor. So, to paraphrase this phrase, we can say “saboreó el vino”

  1. experiment, in the sense of trying. To support this definition, see the example:

Algunos poetas gustaron el género épico.

In this example, changing to like with to experiment, we would have: “Some poets experienced the epic genre”

The verb gustar is a bit strange. Kind of when we like something. However, I hope that after you have read this post, things are a bit clearer for you. If you want to learn about how to express feelings, you should also check out my other posts, they should be useful. Also, since Valentine’s Day is coming soon, try to impress your loved one with some romantic Spanish phrases.

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