The Spanish verb “Gustar” means “to be pleasing”. We use it to talk about what we like, about things that “are pleasing” to us.
Constructing sentences with the verb “Gustar” can be challenging at first for the Spanish learner, because the sentence structure is different than with most other verbs.
In this lesson, we will learn how to construct sentences with “Gustar”, using what we will call the “2 Blocks”
We will go through the following points:
1. The Verb “Gustar” and the 2 Blocks
In order to use the verb “gustar” in sentences, we need to associate each of the 6 persons in Spanish with two “Blocks”. They are presented in the following table:
|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) present more possibilities in their first block, depending on whether something is pleasing “to him”, “to her”, “to María”, “to them”, etc.
Here are example sentences for each person:
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, we notice that the verb “gustar” itself is used either in the form “gusta” or in the form “gustan”.
The reason is that the verb “gustar” doesn’t need to match the person, but the thing (or THINGS) which is (or ARE) pleasing:
- 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, this time the things that are pleasing are plural, and thus it must be “gustan”:
A mí me gustan las patatas fritas = Chips are pleasing to me
A ti te gustan las 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 estas flores = These flowers are pleasing to you guys
A ellos les gustan los dulces = The cakes are pleasing to them
2. Playing with the Blocks
After learning the 2 blocks for each person correctly, we have a lot of freedom to play with them, in several ways. We can do all these things:
- Use just one block
- Change the order of the blocks
- Add other words such as “no” and “mucho”
Using just one block
We don’t need to always 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 the first block only if we want to put special emphasis on the person:
A mí me gusta el kétchup.
Another possibility is using only Block 1, without mentioning the verb “gustar”. For example, in the following conversation, after mentioning the verb “gustar” once, the 2 people continue using only Blocks 1.
A mí me gusta el kétchup, ¿y a ti ? = Ketchup is pleasing to me, and to you?
Sí, a mí también. = Yes, to me also.
Changing the order of the blocks
Also, the order in which we place the Blocks is not strict. We can play with the order of the Blocks pretty much any way we want. 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 other words such as “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.
Meanwhile, the word “mucho” (“a lot, very”), goes after both blocks:
A mí me gusta mucho el baloncesto.
Basketball is very pleasing to me.
3. Other Verbs like “Gustar”
Did know that there are other Verbs in Spanish which work exactly like “Gustar”, using the same “2 Blocks” we just learned? Click here and learn about other verbs like “Gustar”.
4. Practice: A Quiz
Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about verb “Gustar”:
5. Practice: An Exercise
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 at the end of this post.
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