Welcome to our grammar lesson about the Spanish verb gustar.
In Spanish, “gustar” means “to be pleasing”.
We use this verb to talk about things we like (things that “are pleasing” to us).
When we use “gustar” in sentences, it produces a particular grammar structure that the Spanish student needs to learn.
By the end of this lesson, you will be able to use the verb “gustar” properly and use it in sentences.
At the end you’ll find a Quiz and Exercises for practice. Let’s do it!
“gustar” and the 2 blocks
In order to use the verb “gustar”, we need to associate each possible person with 2 blocks.
The following table shows the 2 blocks for each person:
|Person||Block 1||Block 2|
|yo||a mí||me gusta|
|tú||a ti||te gusta|
a mis amigos
In the cases of the third person singular and plural, we have given some examples, and then we have added emojis to express that there are many other possibilities.
Here are some example sentences:
A mí me gusta Madrid. = Madrid is pleasing to me. (in other words, “I like Madrid”)
A ti te gusta la canción. = The song is pleasing to you. (“You like the song”)
A él le gusta el coche. = The car is pleasing to him.
A ella le gusta cantar. = Singing is pleasing to her.
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.
A mis padres les gusta la ensalada = The salad is pleasing to my parents.
When using “gustar”, don’t use the elements shown in the column “Person” in the table above.
Use only the blocks!
For example, instead of
“yo”, say “a mí”.
Or instead of
“él”, say “a él”.
Choosing between “gusta” and “gustan”
Sometimes we say “gustan” instead of “gusta” in the second block.
This is the rule:
- 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 a few sentences where the things that are pleasing are plural, so we use “gustan”:
A mí me gustan las patatas fritas. = Chips are pleasing to me.
A ti te gustan las bicis. = 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.
Play with the blocks!
Once we understand the 2 blocks for each person, we actually have a lot of freedom to play around with them.
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 possibility:
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 can add Block 1 if we want to emphasize 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 exchange, after saying “gustar” once, these 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 Blocks is not strict. We can change it if we want to.
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 such as “no” and “mucho”
If something is not pleasing, 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?
Is the bar not pleasing to you?
A mí no.
Not to me.
The word “mucho” (“a lot, very”), goes after Block 2:
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.
“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 this verb in past and future tenses.
The sentence structure is the same. The only change is we must conjugate “gustar” in whatever tense we need.
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 mí me han gustado las películas.
The movies have been pleasing to me.
Or in Preterite Tense, we choose between “gustó” and “gustaron”:
A nosotros nos gustó el cómic.
The comic was pleasing to us.
A nosotros nos gustaron los cómics.
The comics were pleasing to us.
Other verbs like “gustar” in Spanish
There are other verbs in Spanish that produce the same grammar structure as “gustar”.
Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about the Spanish verb “gustar”:
Exercise 1: “gusta” vs “gustan”
In the following sentences, choose between “gusta” and “gustan”. Click on the gray spaces to see the solutions.
Remember: for this, we only need to consider whether the thing that is pleasing is singular or plural:
1) A mí me gustan tus pendientes.
Your earrings are pleasing to me.
2) A ti te gusta jugar a las cartas.
Playing cards is pleasing to you. (careful here: “las cartas” is plural, but what’s pleasing is “jugar” (playing))
3) A mi padre le gustan los coches.
Cars are pleasing to my father.
4) A nosotros nos gusta la miel.
Honey is pleasing to us.
5) A vosotros os gusta la playa.
The beach is pleasing to you guys.
6) A ellas les gustan los helados.
Ice creams are pleasing to them.
Complete the following sentences:
1) A Pablo le gusta la película.
The movie is pleasing to Pablo.
2) A vosotras os gusta esta música.
This music is pleasing to you. (said to several women)
3) A mí me gustan los barcos.
Ships are pleasing to me.
4) A mis padres les gusta nadar.
Swimming is pleasing to my parents.
5) A ti te gustan mis cómics.
My comics are pleasing to you.
6) A nosotros nos gusta el mar.
The sea is pleasing to us.