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).
Forming sentences with “gustar” can be challenging for the Spanish learner, because it produces a particular sentence structure.
This lesson will teach you how to use this verb properly in sentences, providing examples.
At the end you’ll find a Quiz and Exercises for practice.
“gustar” and the 2 blocks
In order to use the verb “gustar”, we need to associate each 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
Here are example sentences, always using the 2 blocks:
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 forming sentences with “gustar”, don’t use the elements shown above in the column “Person”. Use only the blocks!
For example, instead of
“yo”, say “a mí”.
Or instead of
“él”, say “a él”.
Choosing between “gusta” and “gustan”
There is something missing in the table above: 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 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.
“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 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 los libros.
The books have been pleasing to me.
A nosotros nos gustó el cómic.
The comic was pleasing to us.
A nosotros nos gustaron los cuentos.
The tales were pleasing to us.
Other verbs like “gustar” in Spanish
There are other verbs in Spanish that produce the same 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”.
Remember: for this, we only need to consider whether the thing that is pleasing is singular or plural:
1. A mí me ___ tus pendientes.
Your earrings are pleasing to me.
2. A ti te ___ jugar a las cartas.
Playing cards is pleasing to you.
3. A mi padre le ___ los coches.
Cars are pleasing to my father.
4. A nosotros nos ___ la miel.
Honey is pleasing to us.
5. A vosotros os ___ la playa.
The beach is pleasing to you guys.
6. A ellas les ___ los helados.
Ice creams are pleasing to them.
2) gusta (careful here: “las cartas” is plural, but what’s pleasing is “jugar” (playing))
One of the two blocks is missing in each sentence. Complete them with the right words:
1. A Pablo __ ___ la película.
The movie is pleasing to Pablo.
2. __ ___ os gusta esta música.
This music is pleasing to you. (said to several women)
3. A mí __ ___ los barcos.
Ships are pleasing to me.
4. __ __ ___ les gusta nadar.
Swimming is pleasing to my parents.
5. A ti __ ___ mis cómics.
My comics are pleasing to you.
6. __ ___ nos gusta el mar.
The see is pleasing to us. (said by several women)
1) le gusta
2) A vosotras
3) me gustan
4) A mis padres
5) te gustan
6) A nosotras
Fill the gaps with the right words:
A Laura __ ___ (1) las manzanas.
Apples are pleasing to Laura.
¿Te gusta la canción?
Is the song pleasing to you?
Sí, __ ___ (2) mucho. __ ___ (3) todas las canciones de este grupo.
Yes, it is very pleasing to me. All songs by this band are pleasing to me.
A nosotros __ ___ (4) el jamón ibérico. ¿Y __ ___ (5)?
Iberian ham is pleasing to us. And to you guys?
__ ___ (6) no.
Not to us.
A mis primos no __ ___ (7) jugar al fútbol.
Playing soccer is not pleasing to my cousins.
A mí __ ___ (8) tocar el piano, ¿y __ ___ (9)?
Playing the piano is pleasing to me. And to you?
__ ___ (10) también.
To me also.
1) le gustan
2) me gusta
3) Me gustan
4) nos gusta
5) a vosotros
6) A nosotros
7) les gusta
8) me gusta
9) a ti
10) A mí