Spanish Grammar - "To Like" (Gustar)

Spanish grammar lesson 3: "To like" (gustar)

In English, you can say, "I like movies," or "I like pizza." In Spanish, to communicate the same thing, you would use the verb, "gustar," and the subject (he or she who is doing the liking) becomes the indirect object which precedes the verb, "gustar."

I like movies. = Me gustan las películas.

More accurately, one is saying, "movies are pleasing to me."

NOTE: Before continuing below, please see Section 21 - Indirect Object Pronouns

A similar Spanish word is "agradar," which also means "to be pleasing or agreeable to," or "to like.". And it works the same way!

I like that result. = Me agrada ese resultado.

Now, if you want to say, "desire," or "want," then you have a more straightforward translation:

I desire ice cream. = Yo deseo helado.

I want ice cream = Yo quiero helado.

Exercise: Read, listen to, and repeat aloud the following examples.

¿Te gusta leer libros?

(Do you like to read books?)

No nos gusta viajar tan lejos.

(We don't like to travel so far.)

Le gusta la nieve.

(He/she (or you-formal) likes the snow.)

Frequently in Spanish, to reinforce and be more specific about what is being said, or to simply add emphasis, an additional pronoun preceded by the preposition "a" is added, as demonstrated here:

A mí me gusta dormir tarde.

(I like to sleep late.) - or literally, "to me, it pleases me to sleep late."

A él le gusta tocar el piano.

(He likes to play the piano.) - or literally, "to him, it pleases him to play the piano."



You might sometimes hear an expression using the verb "gustar" in expressions in which it is used in a seemingly regular way, such as the following:

¿gustas? - "Would you like this?" or "Would you like some?"

But, correctly, one would say something like:

¿Te gustaría éste medicamento en tabletas o en una inyección?

(Would you like this medication in tablets or in an injection?)


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