Easy Learning Spanish

Verbal Idioms - Easy Learning Grammar Spanish

1   Present tense of gustar

  • You will probably already have come across the phrase me gusta... meaning I like... . Actually, gustar means literally to please, and if you remember this, you will be able to use gustar much more easily.
Me gusta el chocolate.I like chocolate. (literally: chocolate pleases me)
Me gustan los animales.I like animals. (literally: animals please me)
Nos gusta el español.We like Spanish. (literally: Spanish pleases us)
Nos gustan los españoles.We like Spanish people. (literally: Spanish people please us)
  • Even though chocolate, animales, and so on, come after gustar, they are the subject of the verb (the person or thing performing the action) and therefore the endings of gustar change to agree with them.
  • When the thing that you like is singular, you use gusta (third person singular), and when the thing that you like is plural, you use gustan (third person plural).
Le gusta Francia.He/She likes France. (literally: France pleases him/her)
Le gustan los caramelos.He/She likes sweets. (literally: Sweets please him/her)
  • Note that me, te, le, nos, os and les, which are used with gustar, are indirect object pronouns.

2   Other tenses of gustar

  • You can use gustar in other tenses in Spanish.
Les gustó la fiesta.They liked the party.
Les gustaron los fuegos artificiales.They liked the fireworks.
Te va a gustar la película.You’ll like the film.
Te van a gustar las fotos.You’ll like the photos.
Les ha gustado mucho el museo.They liked the museum a lot
Les han gustado mucho los cuadros.They liked the paintings a lot.
  • You can also use más with gustar to say what you prefer.
A mí me gusta más el rojo.I prefer the red one. (literally: the red one pleases me more)
A mí me gustan más los rojos.I prefer the red ones. (literally: the red ones please me more)

3   Other verbs like gustar

  • There are several other verbs which behave in the same way as gustar:
  • encantar
Me encanta el flamenco.I love flamenco.
Me encantan los animales.I love animals.
  • faltar
Le faltaba un botón.He had a button missing.
Le faltaban tres dientes.He had three teeth missing.
  • quedar
No les queda nada.They have nothing left.
Solo nos quedan dos kilómetros.We’ve only got two kilometres left.
  • doler
Le dolía la cabeza.His head hurt.
Le dolían las muelas.His teeth hurt.
  • interesar
Te interesará el libro.The book will interest you.
Te interesarán sus noticias.His news will interest you.
  • importar
No me importa la lluvia.The rain doesn’t matter to me. or I don’t mind the rain.
Me importan mucho mis estudios.My studies matter to me a lot.
  • hacer falta
Nos hace falta un ordenador.We need a computer.
Nos hacen falta libros.We need books.
Grammar Extra!All the examples given above are in the third persons singular and plural as these are by far the most common. However, it is also possible to use these verbs in other forms.
Creo que le gustas.I think he likes you. (literally: I think you please him)

4   Verbal idioms used with another verb

  • In English you can say I like playing football, we love swimming and so on, and in Spanish you can also use another verb with most of the verbs like gustar. However, the verb form you use for the second verb in Spanish is the infinitive.
Le gusta jugar al fútbol.He/She likes playing football.
No me gusta bailar.I don’t like dancing.
Nos encanta estudiar.We love studying.
No me importa tener que esperar.I don’t mind having to wait.
Key points
  • There are a number of common verbs in Spanish which are used in the opposite way to English, for example, gustar, encantar, hacer falta, and so on. With all these verbs, the object of the English verb is the subject of the Spanish verb.
  • The endings of these verbs change according to whether the thing liked or needed and so on is singular or plural.
  • All these verbs can be followed by another verb in the infinitive.

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