Why do verbs like 'gustar' and 'parecer' take an indirect object?

Why do verbs like 'gustar' and 'parecer' take an indirect object?


I understand that you can't say "Gusta queso" for he likes cheese, but why do you say "Le gusta el queso" instead of "LO qusta el queso"? Because it seems to me that in the literal English translation, "Cheese is pleasing to him," him is the direct object, not the indirect object. Help?

updated MAR 19, 2010
posted by 1121369
Then what is the direct obejct? What or whom is recieving what? - 1121369, MAR 18, 2010
In English "him" is (with respect to the verb) the idirect object (because it's embedded in the prpositional phrase "to him") - samdie, MAR 19, 2010

2 Answers


Sometimes languages don't have a specific reason as to why things are a certain way...they are that way "just because".

Indirect objects answer "to whom" or "for whom" something is done.

Spanish has numerous verbs that follow the same pattern as "gustar". The verb "Parecer" is one of them. When you say something like "Le parece fácil", what you are saying literally is "It seems easy to him". Or "Les parece delicioso el chocolate" - "Chocolate seems delicious to them" Of course, in English you might say "He thinks that it is easy" or "they think that chocolate is delicious".

Another common verb that works that way is "hacer falta" - to need or to be missing something (literally: to make a lack). So, if you need a pen or if you are supposed to have a pen but you seem to be missing it, you can say: "Me hace falta una pluma" - "I need a pen", or "I am missing a pen". What you have said literally is "A pen makes a lack to me", which - obviously - doesn't sound very smooth in English.

I'm sure that someone can give you a link to other verbs that work this way, but I am hopeful that this has helped to somewhat explain it.

updated MAR 19, 2010
posted by mountaingirl123
English also has numerous verbs that "follow the pattern of 'gustar'". - samdie, MAR 19, 2010

Him is the indirect object and cheese is the direct object, the indirect object receives the direct object in a sentence, therefore we use an indirect object pronoun-le. Here's the reference article on indirect object pronouns.Here's another link that explains the difference between direct and indirect object pronouns.

When Do I Have an Indirect Object?

Always ask the question "To whom?" or "For whom?" after each sentence. ``Your answer is your indirect object.

updated MAR 19, 2010
edited by hanran
posted by hanran
"cheese" is the subject. - samdie, MAR 19, 2010
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