Gustar, importar, encantar


Why is the conjugated forms of these like so:

Me gusta = I like

Me is the object, while gusta is the conjugated form of He/she/it likes.
Following the common spanish rules im used to I would normally say Lo Gusto = I like it. Gusto = I like, Lo = it.

The same applys to me importa, and me encanta. Can someone explain this please!

updated ABR 20, 2010
posted by DrJD

2 Answers


Hi, DrJD

I can try to explain it to you...

In Spanish there are a few verbs, including the ones that you asked about, that work totally differently than our English equivalents.

Let's take "gustar". In English, I would say "I like chocolate". In other words, "I" am the subject and "chocolate" is the object. In Spanish it is backwards to the English way of thinking. In Spanish the subject is "chocolate" and the object is "me". Therefore: "Me gusta el chocolate" meaning "Chocolate is pleasing to me." ("gustar" - literally to be pleasing).

If you wanted to say "We like the book", you flip it around - "the book is pleasing to us" - "Nos gusta el libro".

What about things that are plural? "She likes dogs". Flip the sentence - "Dogs are pleasing to her" - "Le gustan los perros." Notice that the subject is plural in Spanish, so the verb must also be plural. Here's another one: "You like sports" - "sports are pleasing to you - "Te gustan los deportes".

"Encantar" literally means "to be enchanting". Therefore, "I love your shoes" - "Your shoes are enchanting to me" - "Me encantan tus zapatos".

"Importar" means "to matter/to be important". Therefore: "Your ideas matter to him" - "Le importan tus ideas."

I hope that this has helped clear it up for you!

updated ABR 20, 2010
posted by mountaingirl123
So difficult to explain to students! You did a nice job!!
Great answer!
That made a lot of sense, and was very clear! Thank you!

por que?

updated ABR 19, 2010
posted by iscle
because its confusing.