Some verbs in Spanish use an indirect object pronoun instead of the subject that would appear in an English translation. The subject in an English sentence becomes the indirect object in Spanish. The most recognizable verb in this category is gustar, which many native English-speakers translate as "to like" when it really means "to be pleasing" making the object that is pleasing the subject and the person to whom it is pleasing, the indirect object.

Spanish Literal English Translation Perceived English Meaning
Me gustan las manzanas. Apples are pleasing to me. I like apples.

“Apples” is the subject, so “gustar” is conjugated to the 3rd person plural and “me” is the direct object, showing to whom the apples are pleasing.


These verbs all have indirect objects which require an indirect object pronoun (in most cases). Sentences may begin or end with the indirect object and may or may not include the preposition “a” plus a pronoun or noun. The verb is always conjugated to match the subject noun while the person is identified by the indirect object pronoun. If the sentence begins with an indirect object, the emphasis is placed on the person.

   •    Me agrada su visita. (I am pleased by your visit.)
   •    ¿Os interesaría ir al cine? (Are you interested in going to the movies?)
   •    A nosotros nos molesta el ruido. (We are bothered by the noise.)
   •    A muchas mujeres les encantan los cuentos de amor. (Many women really like love stories.)

If the sentence ends with the indirect object, more emphasis is placed on the subject instead of the person. In this manner, the sentences translate more literally into English.
   •    Los días tibios me gustan. (Warm days are pleasing to me.)
   •    Los coches deportivos le atraen(Sports cars are attractive to her.)
   •    Lavar la ropa nos corresponde(Washing the clothes is our responsibility.)
   •    La política te interesa(Politics are interesting for you.)

Placement of the "a" + pronoun/noun

When the indirect object falls at the end of the phrase, the prepositional phrase such as "a mí" or "a nosotros" is placed after the verb instead of in front of the indirect object pronoun.

Below you will find a list of common verbs that function like "Gustar."

Common Verbs that can be used like Gustar (but don’t necessarily have to be)

aburrir to bore faltar to be lacking
agradar to please fascinar to fascinate
alegrar to gladden fastidiar to annoy
apasionar to love gustar to please
apetecer to feel like hacer falta to be missed
atraer to attract importar to matter
bastar to be enough interesar to interest
caber to fit, to fill molestar to bother
convenir to be better for parecer to appear to be
corresponder to be responsible for picar to itch
costar to cost preocupar to worry
disgustar to disgust quedar to remain
doler to hurt repugnar to disgust
encantar to delight sobrar to be left over
extrañar to surprise tocar to be responsible for

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