Spanish Lesson 27: Me Gusta

Me Gusta: Expressing likes and dislikes in Spanish

Hola mis amigos,

¿Están listos? Are you ready for another Spanish lesson?  Today we’re all about love! Well, liking really… but we can love too.  I’m going to teach you how to express your pleasure/ delight at something.

First, let’s look at the verb Gustar.

Gustar literally translates to: “To be pleasing to” | Note Gustar does not literally translate to: “To like”

Now, we’ll look at how gustar in used in sentences. The construction used when expressing likes or dislikes using gustar can sometimes be a bit tricky, for new Spanish learners.  This is because of which words are considered the subjects and objects of the sentence.  Additionally, the Spanish construction is different from the English construction.  With gustar and other ‘liking verbs’ the verbs are conjugated to match the subject noun (the thing being liked).

Let’s look at these examples:

I like the house – Me gusta la casa

In English, the subject of the sentence is the person ‘I’ but in Spanish the subject of the sentence is the object ‘the house’. This is because the verb/ expression “gustar” changes the subject and object around.

I like the house = The house is pleasing to me = Me gusta la casa

I like the house- Subject: I

The house is pleasing to me- Subject: the house

Additionally, notice that while the English sentence has a direct object, the Spanish sentence has an indirect object. Checkout Grammarly‘s very brief lesson on Direct and Indirect Objects in English.

The verb Gustar used in some expressions

Me gustaI like
No me gustaI don’t like
¿Te gusta…?Do you like (informal)…?
¿A usted Le gusta…?Do you like (formal)…?
¿Le gusta…?Do you like (formal)…?
¿Qué te gusta hacer?What do you like to do (informal)?
¿Qué le gusta hacer?What do you like to do (formal)?
Me gusta escuchar músicaI like to listen to music
No me gusta mirar la televisiónI don’t like to watch tv
¿Te gusta bailar?Do you (informal) like to dance?
¿A (usted) le gusta jugar al fútbol?Do you (formal) like to play football?
No te gusta jugar al baloncestoYou don’t like to play basketball
No le gusta hacer aeróbicosYou don’t like to do aerobics
Te gusta correrYou like to run
A (Usted) Le gusta ir a la playaYou like to go to the beach

Key points

  • Gustar literally means “to be pleasing to”
  • The most commonly used forms of gustar are: Gusta and Gustan (we’ll address gustan later)
  • We do not use “gusto” for ‘I like.’ A common mistake is to say “Me gusto la flor.” This is incorrect because the subject of the sentence is “la flor.” Remember, the verb is conjugated to agree with the subject of the sentence.
  • Gusta is used with verbs and singular nouns. Gustan is used with plural nouns.

To emphasise gustar or clarify, we can the personal “a” + person

A mí me gustaI like
Me gusta
A tí te gustaYou like
Te gusta
A usted le gusta
Le gusta
Nos gustaWe like
A nosotros nos gusta
Les gustaThey like / You all like
A ustedes les gusta
A Juana le gustaJuana likes
A Renaldo y Ana les gustaRenaldo and Ana like

Check out this Señor Jordan video on Gustar, with an explanation of the person “a”

Negatives

I don’t like: A mí no me gusta / No me gusta

You don’t like: A tí no te gusta/ No te gusta

Example

You like running:      Te gusta correr

You don’t like doing aerobics: No te gusta hacer aeróbicos

Note: I like to dance and I like dancing are BOTH translated to: Me gusta bailar

WATCH

Take a look at these Señor Jordan videos on using the expression “Me Gusta” and “No me gusta”

Gustan

Let’s look at the use of gustar with plural nouns

Me gustan las plumas = To me the pens are pleasing = I like the pens

Notice that gustar is conjugated as “gustan.” Remember (again), the verb is conjugated to agree with the subject of the sentence.

Me gustan las plumas. (I like the pens.)

Notice that the conjugation of gustar changes to “gusta” when the subject of the sentence is singular but to “gustan” when the subject of the sentence is plural.

Me gusta la pluma. (I like the pen.)

Other verbs like Gustar

  • Encantar: To delight
  • Interesar: To interest
  • Alegrar: To gladden
  • Fascinar: To Fascinate
  • Disgustar: To disgust
  • Molestar: To bother

Practice Exercise

Choose the correct words/ phrases to complete the sentences below:

1. Me (gusta / gustan) las frutas.

2. Me (gusta / gusto) bailar en las fiestas.

3. A Eduardo (le gusta / se gusta) el coche.

4. A nosotros (nos gustan / nos gustamos) los pantalones.

5. A Xiomara (les gusta / le gustan) las flores.

Respuestas:

1. gustan, 2. gusta, 3. le gusta, 4. nos gustan, 5. le gustan


I hope you enjoyed and understood today’s lesson. Be sure to leave any questions in the comments!

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I’m a Latin American Studies teacher, teaching Latin American History and Politics and Basic Spanish. I love reading, writing, teaching and travelling. 

6 thoughts on “Spanish Lesson 27: Me Gusta

    1. I love Señor Jordan’s videos. He really breaks the topics down so well for students. I look forward to your comentarios españoles!

    1. Definitely! I swear my husband speaks more fluent Spanish than I do… and it’s not that he can… he just talks and doesn’t fuss about any errors. 😂

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