Welcome to our grammar lesson about Spanish verb “Gustar”.
The verb “Gustar” means “to be pleasing”. We use it to talk about things we like, about things that “are pleasing” to us.
Constructing sentences with the verb “Gustar” can be challenging for the Spanish learner at first, because it produces a particular sentence structure.
In this lesson we will learn all about that structure and how to make sentences with verb “Gustar”. At the end you’ll find a Quiz and an Exercise for practice.
1. The verb “Gustar” and the 2 Blocks
In order to use the verb “gustar” in sentences, we are going to associate each of the 6 persons with two “Blocks”. The following table shows the 2 blocks for each person:
|Block 1||Block 2|
|a mí||me gusta(n)|
|a ti||te gusta(n)|
|a nosotros||nos gusta(n)|
|a vosotros||os gusta(n)|
a mis amigos
Notice that… The 3rd Persons (singular and plural) have a first block that is variable, depending on who exactly is the person that something is pleasing to (“to him, to María, to them, to my friends…)
Here are example sentences with verb “gustar” for each person, always using the 2 Blocks:
A mí me gusta Madrid. = Madrid is pleasing to me.
A ti te gusta la canción. = The song is pleasing to you.
A él le gusta el coche. = The car is pleasing to him.
A nosotros nos gusta la playa. = The beach is pleasing to us.
A vosotros os gusta el bar. = The bar is pleasing to you guys.
A ellos les gusta el jazz. = Jazz is pleasing to them.
Choosing “Gusta” Vs. “Gustan”
Looking at the table above, notice that we have always written “gusta(n)”, meaning that we use either “gusta” or “gustan”, depending on the sentence:
- If the thing that is pleasing is singular, we use “gusta”, regardless of the person.
- If the things that are pleasing are plural, we use “gustan”, regardless of the person.
Here are new example sentences where the things that are pleasing are plural, and because of that we use “gustan”:
A mí me gustan las patatas fritas. = Chips are pleasing to me.
A ti te gustan la bicis. = The bikes are pleasing to you.
A ella le gustan las manzanas. = Apples are pleasing to her.
A nosotros nos gustan los libros. = Books are pleasing to us.
A vosotros os gustan las flores. = Flowers are pleasing to you guys.
A ellos les gustan los dulces. = Cakes are pleasing to them.
2. Play with the 2 Blocks!
After learning the 2 blocks for each person, we actually have a lot of freedom to play with them, in several ways. We can do all these things:
- Use just one block instead of two
- Change the order of the blocks
- Add other words such as “no” and “mucho”
Let’s study each one of those possibilities, with examples:
Using just one block
We don’t always need to use both blocks. Most times, Block 2 is enough. For example, to say “Ketchup is pleasing to me”, this is enough:
Me gusta el kétchup.
We add Block 1 only if we want to put special emphasis on the person:
A mí me gusta el kétchup.
Another possibility is using only Block 1, if we have already mentioned the verb “gustar” and we don’t want to repeat it all the time.
For example, in the following conversation, after mentioning the verb “gustar” once, the 2 people continue the conversation using only Blocks 1:
A mí me gusta el kétchup, ¿y a ti?
Ketchup is pleasing to me, and to you?
A mí también.
To me also.
Changing the order of the blocks
The order of the two Blocks is not strict. We can change it if we want to.
All the following sentences have the same meaning: “Ketchup is pleasing to me”
El kétchup me gusta.
A mí el kétchup me gusta.
El kétchup me gusta a mí.
Adding words “no” and “mucho”
If something is not pleasing to someone, the word “no” goes after Block 1 and before Block 2:
A mí no me gusta el tenis.
Tennis is not pleasing to me.
¿No te gusta el bar?
The bar is not pleasing to you?
A mí no.
To me, it is not pleasing.
Meanwhile, the word “mucho” (“a lot, very”), goes after both blocks:
A nosotros nos gusta mucho el baloncesto.
Basketball is very pleasing to us.
Les gusta mucho la ciudad.
The city is very pleasing to them.
3. Sentences with “Gustar” in other Tenses
Up to this point, we have only read sentences with “gustar” in Present tense.
But of course, we can also use “gustar” in past and future tenses. The sentence structure is the same, but naturally the verb “gustar” must be conjugated in whatever tense we use.
For example, in Present Perfect, instead of choosing between “gusta” and “gustan”, we choose between “ha gustado” and “han gustado”:
A mí me ha gustado la película.
The movie has been pleasing to me.
A María le han gustado los libros.
The books have been pleasing to María.
A nosotros nos gustó el cómic.
The comic was pleasing to us.
A ti te gustaron los cuentos.
The tales were pleasing to you.
4. Other Spanish Verbs like “Gustar”
Did you know that there are other Verbs in Spanish which produce the same exact sentence structure as “Gustar”, using the “2 Blocks” pattern? Click here and learn about other verbs like “Gustar”.
5. Practice Spanish “Gustar”
Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about verb “Gustar”:
In the following sentences which include the verb “Gustar”, there are words missing. Fill the gaps in your mind or on a piece of paper. Then check the solutions below:
A Laura ___ _____ (1) los caballos.
– ¿Te gusta la canción?
– Sí, ___ _____ (2) mucho. De hecho, ___ _____ (3) todas las canciones de este grupo.
– A nosotros ___ _____ (4) el jamón ibérico. ¿Y __ (5) vosotros?
– ___ (6) nosotros no.
A mis primos no ___ _____ (7) jugar al fútbol.
– A mí ___ _____ (8) tocar el piano, ¿y __ (9) ti?
– A __ (10) también.
Solutions to the Exercise: 1 = le gustan, 2 = me gusta, 3 = me gustan, 4 = nos gusta, 5 = a, 6 = A, 7 = les gusta, 8 = me gusta, 9 = a, 10 = mí