It's not a secret that every language expresses things a little bit differently, sometimes even oddly, according to some other languages, especially English.
Spanish isn't an exception.
When it comes to verbs in Spanish, there's one particular verb that works quite differently from others.
It is the verb 'gustar.'
The verb 'gustar' means 'to like.'
Now you are probably thinking, what's that going to be any different from other verbs and the English equivalent, too?
Well, it is different.
Conjugating and using the verb 'gustar' in Spanish is as easy as other verbs.
On the other hand, it isn't a struggle either but you will have to spend some time studying this verb.
Together, however, we will see how to conjugate and how to use gustar, as well as other sibling verbs, and you will see, pretty quickly, that even though it may be a little strange, it isn't impossible.
And now, let's dive in.
What Does Gustar Mean?
The main meaning of the verb gustar is 'to like.'
But depending on contexts and sentences, it also means 'to be pleasing' and 'to enjoy.'
Interestingly, this is one of the most commonly used verbs in Spanish, so you should pay close attention to understand it as soon as possible.
At first sight, there's nothing strange with this verb.
But then, take a look at the sentence 'I like books.' How would you say this in Spanish?
'Yo gusto los libros?'
You will say 'Me gustan los libros.'
And here is one difference between English and Spanish sentences and using the verb gustar or in English, to like.
What Is The Difference Between English 'To Like' And Spanish 'Gustar?'
One of the most apparent differences between English to like and Spanish gustar is in word order.
As we've already mentioned, gustar can be a pretty weird verb and differs from its English equivalent.
We are used to the Spanish subject-verb-object word structure. In this case, we should forget about it.
When we use gustar, the word order is usually object-verb-subject.
Let’s take a look at the example of ‘Me gustan los libros.’ Also, we can even put the subject at the beginning of a sentence like ‘Los libros me gustan,’ which is a subject-object-verb structure.
In English, it is translated as ‘I like books.’ Here, the word order is subject-verb-object.
In Spanish, we have an object (me)-verb(gustan)-subject (los libros).
To make it a little bit clearer, we can translate the verb gustar as ‘to be pleasing.’
Therefore, in English, we can say ‘Books are pleasing to me.’
Another big difference between English ‘to like’ and Spanish ‘gustar’ is in conjugation.
In English, the verb is conjugated like most of the verbs ( I like, you like, we like etc.).
In Spanish, however, the verb ‘gustar’ is conjugated according to the things we like. In this case, it is the subject.
Here are a couple more examples.
Me gusta la pizza- I like pizza.
Me gusta el chocolate.- I like chocolate.
Le gustan los libros- He likes books.
Conjugation of Gustar
As you saw from the previous example, the verb gustar doesn't conjugate the same way as its English equivalent, the verb 'to like.'
Me gusta(n)- I like
Te gusta(n)- You like
Le gusta(n)- He/She likes
Nos gusta(n)- We like
Os gusta(n)- You like (formal)
Les gusta(n)- They like (formal)
Please note that, for example, 'Me gusta,' refers to the object in the singular. If you say 'Me gustan' it is used for objects in the plural 'I like.'
Also, conjugation in the plural, 'os gusta(n)' and 'les gusta(n)' are used in formal sentences.
Gustar And Indirect Object(s)
In English, the verb ‘to like’ goes with the direct object.
In Spanish, ‘gustar’ requires the indirect object.
However, when you use this verb in Spanish, first, you have to use the object and then, after it, the verb.
The best way to memorize and easily use is that the English subject has to be transformed into the Spanish indirect objects.
Here are the English subjects and equivalent Spanish indirect objects.
Me- A mí- I Nos-A nosotros- We
Te- A ti-- You Os- A vosotros- You
LeA él/ella- He/She Les-A ellos/ellas- They
Nos gusta Halloween.- We like Halloween.
A Sarah gusta el chocolate- Sarah likes chocolate.
Les gustan las peliculas españolas.- They like Spanish movies.
Me Gusta Or Me Gusto
You’ve surely heard both cases in Spanish.
Which one is, therefore, correct?
Is it possible, at least in some particular situations, to conjugate the verb ‘gustar’ like any other verb?
It actually can.
Here’s the conjugation
Me gusto Nos gustamos
Te gustas Os gustáis
Se gusta Se gustan
Spanish native speakers, however, don’t usually use the verb ‘gustar’ this way, unless it is necessary.
Here’s an example of when they use it as a reflexive verb.
Me gusto más cuando estoy contigo.- I like myself better when I’m with you.
Are There Any Other Verbs Like Gustar?
Gustar isn’t the only verb in Spanish it is used that way.
There are 14 verbs that are conjugated like this one.
Meaning: to love something
Like the verb gustar, this one refers to the thing (object) that is being loved.
Meaning: to bore
The verb aburrir has several meanings, such as to bore as the most common one. Besides this one, other meanings are to tire, to annoy, to irritate.
It can also be a reflexive verb, aburrirse, in the meaning to be bored.
Meaning: to attract
The verb also can be used as the reflexive verb, atraerse.
Meaning: to be in someone’s interest
Meaning: to cost
Despite the meaning to cost, this verb can be used as hill, when something is quite difficult to do. Here’s an example
Me cuesta subir la cuesta, which means It’s difficult for me to go up the hill.
Meaning: to be lacking something
This verb usually means to be lacking something but it can also be used in the meaning to miss work or, in Spanish, faltar el trabajo.
Meaning: to be important to
Meaning: to be bothered
In English, to molest has a different meaning than in Spanish, so have in mind that this is a false friend.
Meaning: to remain
Depending on the situation it is used, the verb quedar has many different meanings.The most common one is to remain.
Meaning: to appear to be
‘Parecer’ can be used as a verb, but as a noun as well, in the meaning opinion.
Meaning: to worry
The verb preocupar has a reflexive form, preocuparse, which means to be worried. This verb also has other meanings, such as to care about, to concern, to interest.
Meaning: to itch
Besides meaning to itch, the verb picar also means to bite.
Meaning: to be left over
The verb is used as a Spanish slang, and then it means to say something that is unnecessary.
Meaning: to be painful
Among the 14 verbs, this one is the irregular one.
In the verb doler, the letter ‘o’ changes to ‘ue’ in the simple present tense.
This time is ideal for learning Spanish, even the challenging part of the language, such as using the verb gustar, so you better book 1-on-1 lessons with Spanish tutors and see how far you've come or simply to enter the Hispanic world and learn a little bit about Spanish food traditions because through the food you will learn not only the language but also culture and customs, and moreover, meet interesting people.