gustar ( me gusta....)


One of the first things i learnt in spanish to say was me gusta.........

I still dont know why it isint gusto............ I have watched the videos many times and I am confused with the linguistic termonology Paralee uses.

She says its to do with the indirect project pronoun. I is (yo) and you is (tu). Why do they then become (me) and (te) respectively when used with the verb gustar?!

So what Im basically asking is when do you use the other forms of gustar like gusto, gustas etc etc. As well as why do we use gust-a for I/he/you likes when it should refer to the third person singular (he/she/usted) likes.

updated AGO 14, 2011
posted by jonski
i dont understand either, if u find out, please tell me!!!! ;) :) :) ;)

18 Answers


Here we go again...

If you really hate wine, would you say "I disgust wine"? Why don't you? You are asking the same question in Spanish when you ask why can't you say "No gusto el vino". You'd say "Wine disgusts me" and we could say (well, not me, hehe) "No me gusta el vino". Both are in third person (disgusts / gusta) and both have "me" in it.

The simple explanation is that in Spanish we do not like or dislike things -things are pleasing or disgusting to us. That's how "gustar" and many other numerous verbs of emotion and sensation are used.

Me gusta el vino = (Wine is "pleasing" to me) = I like wine

Te gusta el vino = (Wine is "pleasing" to you) = You like wine

Le gusta el vino = (Wine is "pleasing" to him/her) = He/she likes wine

When do you use other forms?

¿Te gusto? = (Am I pleasingto you?) = Do you like me?

No les gustas a mis padres = (You are not pleasing to my parents) = My parents don't like you

This construction is not totally strange in English (as I showed with "disgust"). Think of sentences like "That seems strange to me" -you don't say "I seem that strange"-, or "That scares me" -you don't say "I scare that", but you don't say "That fears me", but "I fear that". And don't think this is ridiculous, because there are many languages where they say literally "I seem that strange" and "I scare that".

updated AGO 1, 2017
edited by lazarus1907
posted by lazarus1907
No les gustas a mis padres.
me gusta este articulo!

"To like" does not exist in Spanish. Forget about it or you're in for lots of headaches. I know this from personal experience. Instead try to think something like this .....

[to me] ..... [it is pleasing] -----> me gusta (I like it)

[to you] ..... [they are pleasing] ..... [the apples?] ¿Te gustan las manzanas? (Do you like apples?)

  • ¿A quién [to whom] le gusta el perro?

  • A Pedro [to Pedro]

Why not think up some sentences and post them here? We'll help you correct them (well I won't - "gustar" makes my brain melt smile)

updated NOV 2, 2010
posted by patch

Hi, Gustar means to be pleasing. It is used with the indirect object pronouns. So the way a spanish person would say. I like the house would be ( To me the house is pleasing)= Me gusta la casa. if I say (me gustas) It means to me you are pleasing or in good English I like you. Gustan means that more than one thing is pleasing. translated- they are pleasing so if I say Te gustan las casas. It means to me the houses are pleasing or in good English "I like the houses". I hope I have been of help.

updated NOV 2, 2010
posted by miksu

Hello From what I've read you are confusing the pronouns. Subject pronouns are yo, tú,él,ella, usted, nostros, vostros , ellos, and ellas. However, indirect bject pronouns are Me, te, le, nos, os, les.

Take the sentence, Me gusta el gato. It is translated , The cat is pleasing to me. Cat is the subject and it is 3rd person singular. Anything that can be translated as it is 3rd person sing. or plural. Now the verb has to agree with the subject therefore gusta and not gusto. In the above sentence " to me" (me) is the indirect object and uses the pronoun me and not yo. Because it is the indirect object it has no affect on the verb.

I hope that this clears up some of the confusion.

updated AGO 1, 2017
posted by Mexxicana

OK. After reading up through most of the links I've been given, here is what I can and cant draw from it: (getting really frustrated with this, as its difficult to articulate)

I understand the verb gustar means to be pleasing to someone.

What I dont understand is how it is assigned to the third person. PLEASE correct me if im wrong but third person refers to he/she/you (formal) for singular uses and they/you all (formal) for plural uses.

So to take one of the examples lazarus has given,

Te gusta el vino You like wine (wine is pleasing to you)

And now to compare it with the next one given:

No les gustas a mis padres = (You are not pleasing to my parents) = My parents don't like you

WHY does this example now use the second person singular verb ending -AS instead of gusta? Both examples are referring to YOU and yet one uses gusta and the other gustas.

I think my confusion stems from the fact that I dont fully understand 3rd person. The phrase wine is pleasing to me (me gusta el vino) - What person is this written in? If 3rd please explain as my understanding of 3rd person is he or she. This is the root cause of the problem and would be far more beneficial to outline the reasons why this sentence is what it is.

Saying this I bet Iam still confused with the answers that I recieve! God help me! lol

updated NOV 29, 2011
posted by jonski
1st sentence subject ='it' (the wine) 2nd sentence subject ='you'

Let's dissect the statement that is giving you the problem:

No les gustas a mis padres

first drop the "a mis padres" temporarily-

No les gustas

in this "les"= " (to) them" and "gustas" = "you are pleasing (to)"

So by conjugating to the form for "you" one makes it clear that "you" is what is not pleasing to them. Adding back the "a mis padres" clarifies who the "them=les" are.

If you said "no les gusto" that would be "I am not pleasing to them". You might be happier if "yo" or some other form of a first person pronoun was in the sentence in some other way, but it is there in the choice of "gusto", which indicates that "I" is the one doing the pleasing.

If you say "te gusta el vino", then you are saying the wine is not pleasing to you. You are not saying that you are not pleasing to the wine.

You are not pleasing to them.

The wine is pleasing to you.

The subjects of the sentences are not the same, we do not even conjugate them the same in English. In one case you are not pleasing something, so the word "you" is the subject, in the other, something is not pleasing you, so that something is the subject.

Do not be confused by the fact that the subject of the verb is often only implied by the conjugation of the verb, and the indirect object is right in front of the verb.

updated NOV 29, 2011
edited by Stadt
posted by Stadt

It seems like everyone has covered pretty much all of the important bits and you definitely seem to be getting it - but I just thought I'd add a simple post with three basic points to remember when getting started in Spanish to express things that you like:

  1. You must use the Spanish verb 'gustar' to be pleasing rather than the English verb 'to like' which will change your sentence structure.

eg instead of thinking - I like chocolate, start thinking, chocolate is pleasing to me

  1. if you would say 'is' pleasing in English you use the third person sing of gustar - gusta

eg the wine 'is' pleasing to me - me gusta el vino

  1. If you would say 'are' pleasing to me in English you use the third person plural of gustar - gustan

eg the vegetables 'are' pleasing to me - me gustan las verduras

updated AGO 14, 2011
edited by Kiwi-Girl
posted by Kiwi-Girl

Anything you need to know about gustar, have a look, lots of excercises etc;9m

updated AGO 14, 2011
posted by 00494d19

Love that Manu Chao song!

Anyway, in response to jonski's follow-up question, in my opinion, for now, I would put aside the example: "No les gustas a mis padres". This is not a construction I have learnt as a (very recent) beginner and I think this may continue to confuse. Come back to this one later on. (Apologies if this seems like a cop-out but I think it might help... poco poco)

Stick with "te gusta el vino", usage of 'gustar' in its simplest form. The third person conjugation of the verb here, 'gusta', refers to the wine not to you. This is a good way of thinking about it - when using 'gustar' the conjugation you need is specified by the thing (in your mind if you're a native English speaker) you're talking about, e.g. wine, shoes. So:

"te gusta el vino" "me gustan los zapatos".

The third person form is used in these examples because it is talking about 'it' or 'they'. Not me or you. Try thinking about the third person as he, she or it.

Hope this helps a little.

updated NOV 4, 2010
posted by jaynescarman

Heidita put together this post about this topic because it comes up so often. Gustar doesn't mean to like, it means to please. Read a couple of the articles and threads and you'll get it.

updated OCT 31, 2010
edited by KevinB
posted by KevinB

wow wee guys, this is mighty useful! me gusta jonski lol

updated NOV 5, 2010
posted by mikkisama

Wow, first off thanks for all the responses!

I think I'm finally starting to understand this now. I never realised why gusta is in third person untill someone explained that third person also means IT/IS. I'm going to quickly run through what I've learnt and hopefully I get lots of thumbs up! lol.

So when I say:

Me gusta el futbol

It means - Football is pleasing to me.

So we start with the thing that is pleasing (el futbol) then to who it is pleasing to (me). The keyword in this sentence is the is part as this is the reason this sentence is conjugated to the third person.

Or is it any easier to do it the other way around? So instead of football being pleasing to me it could become: To me, football is pleasing. Both mean the same thing I know I'am just trying to figure out a 'system' to help me decipher future conversations without making silly errors.

Does anyone have any protocols to help translate these gustar sentences? Perhaps a 'system' is the wrong way to go about it. I find it really difficult though and have to really think about it which is slow and painful! Taking this sentence:

No les gustas a mis padres - (You are not pleasing to my parents)

When I read it I start translating it in chronological order but I think maybe this is whats causing me to be slow?! So I read this sentence as:

No they you pleasing to my parents. Which I can gather what it means but causes all sorts of grief! Does anyone have and tips on this? I suppose just practise but I dont know if how im practising is the best way to learn and not simply memorise.

I've also found a real good website with a section on gustar,if people want to take a look:

updated NOV 4, 2010
posted by jonski
sounds like you are getting it, although I would have put it: (not) (to them) (are you pleasing) (them = my parents) to be a little closer conceptually
(Instead of "no they you pleasing to my parents")
You could substitue (in reference to my parents) for (them=my parents) if that works better in your thought processes

In case you haven't already grasped "gustar", I did this and I really, really hope it is helpful for you!! smile

Forms of gustar:

gusto (I am pleasing)

gustas (You are pleasing)

gusta (He/She/You-formal/It is pleasing)

gustamos (We are pleasing)

gustaís (You all-informal are pleasing) // By the way, I've never seen this form; just guessing

gustan (They/You all-formal are pleasing)

Please note that you will almost never find any of these just by themselves. That is, without a me/te/le/les in front of it... as far as I know

Now, what the me/te/le/les signify is unto whom something is pleasing


Me gusta ____

Literally: Unto me it/he/she/you-formal is pleasing

Translated as: I like it/him/her/you

So: Me gusta la música --> Unto me (or "to me") [the] music is pleasing --> I like (the) music

Me gustan _____

Literally: Unto me **they are pleasing*

Translated as: I like them

So: Me gustan los perros --> Unto me [the] dogs are pleasing --> I like [the] dogs

Let's try somemore, huh?!

  • Le gusta : Unto him/her/you-formal/it it is pleasing

A María (to María - emphasis & clarity), le gusta el churrasco : To María, unto her the steak is pleasing : Maria likes the steak

  • Nos gusta : Unto us it is pleasing

Nos gustan las películas : Unto us movies are pleasing : We like movies

  • Les gusta : Unto them/you-all-formal it/he/she is pleasing

    Les gusta el fútbol : Unto them/you-all-formal soccer is pleasing : They/y'all like soccer

  • Te gusta : Unto you it/he/she/you-form. is pleasing

    Te gusta a María : Unto you María is pleasing : You like María

Wow, that was a lot. One last one!

For the example you gave: No les gustas a mis padres

Unto them (my parents) you are not pleasing

My parents don't like you (lol)

Well, I hope this really helped. Also, if anyone sees any mistakes I made (critical or trivial), please feel free to correct me! Thanks!

updated NOV 3, 2010
edited by Goldie_Miel
posted by Goldie_Miel
Te gusta a María (is incorrect/makes no sense) - Remove the 'a' and you'll be in business.

Why do so many people consider constructions using 'gustar' to be 'backward'/'weird' (perhaps invented by Spanish speakers simply to bedevil foreigners)? Exactly the same construction occurs in French and Italian (and, probably, the other Romance languages). There are hundreds of verbs in English that are/can be used in constructions that parallel the Spanish syntax.

If anything, it is the English use of "to like" that's odd.

updated NOV 2, 2010
posted by samdie
Learning how to use gustar is one of the easier aspects of learning Spanish--prepositions on the other hand :( . . .the only thing I can say is they don't look as complicated as in English.
No foubt. The use of prepositions should top anyone's list of "not subject to logic" (In English as in Spanish).
English used to have a verb like that, little before Chaucer.
Learn something new every day... ;)

check out the song me gusta by manu chao. these are the lyrics: Que hora son mi corazn Te lo dije bien clarito Permanece a la escucha

Permanece a la escucha 12 de la noche en La Habana, Cuba 11 de la noche en San Salvador, El Salvador 11 de la noche en Maragua, Nicaragua Me gustan los aviones, me gustas tu. Me gusta viajar, me gustas tu. Me gusta la maana, me gustas tu. Me gusta el viento, me gustas tu. Me gusta soar, me gustas tu. Me gusta la mar, me gustas tu. Que voy a hacer, je ne sais pas Que voy a hacer Je ne sais plus Que voy a hacer Je suis perdu Que horas son, mi corazn Me gusta la moto, me gustas tu. Me gusta correr, me gustas tu. Me gusta la lluvia, me gustas tu. Me gusta volver, me gustas tu. Me gusta marihuana, me gustas tu. Me gusta colombiana, me gustas tu. Me gusta la montaa, me gustas tu. Me gusta la noche, me gustas tu. Que voy a hacer, je ne sais pas Que voy a hacer Je ne sais plus Que voy a hacer Je suis perdu Que horas son, mi corazn

Me gusta la cena, me gustas tu. Me gusta la vecina, me gustas tu. Me gusta su cocina, me gustas tu. Me gusta camelar, me gustas tu. Me gusta la guitarra, me gustas tu. Me gusta el regaee, me gustas tu. Que voy a hacer, je ne sais pas Que voy a hacer Je ne sais plus Que voy a hacer Je suis perdu Que horas son, mi corazn Me gusta la canela, me gustas tu. Me gusta el fuego, me gustas tu. Me gusta menear, me gustas tu. Me gusta la Corua, me gustas tu. Me gusta Malasaa, me gustas tu. Me gusta la castaa, me gustas tu. Me gusta Guatemala, me gustas tu. Que voy a hacer, je ne sais pas Que voy a hacer Je ne sais plus Que voy a hacer Je suis perdu Que horas son, mi corazn Que voy a hacer, je ne sais pas Que voy a hacer Je ne sais plus Que voy a hacer Je suis perdu Que horas son, mi corazn Que voy a hacer, je ne sais pas Que voy a hacer Je ne sais plus Que voy a hacer Je suis perdu Que horas son, mi corazn

Que horas son, mi corazn Que horas son, mi corazn Que horas son, mi corazn

Que horas son, mi corazn

Que horas son, mi corazn

Radio reloj

5 de la maana

No todo lo que es oro brilla Remedio chino e infalible

updated NOV 2, 2010
posted by michael8400