If you’re struggling to understand the rules of using gustar in Spanish, you aren’t alone. The verb gustar is an irregular one so you can’t conjugate it like other -ar verbs. This Spanish verb can be particularly hard for new Spanish language students. Check out our to-the-point explanation below for an easy way to get familiar with gustar in Spanish!
The Verb Gustar in Spanish
The verb gustar means “to like” in English, as in “I like pizzas.” However, due to the irregular sentence structure of gustar in Spanish, it can also be translated to “to please,” as in “Pizza pleases me.” In Spanish, this sentence using gustar is written like this: “Me gusta pizza.” The object (pizza) becomes the subject of the sentence while the person who likes pizza becomes the indirect object. The person who likes someone is referred to with indirect object pronouns: me, te, le, os, nos, les. Since people almost always say that they like something, the verb gustar is most often conjugated in third-person singular or plural (gusta/gustan).
Using Gustar for Verbs
Do you like running? Or fishing? Or maybe dancing the Spanish nights away? Using gustar in Spanish to describe actions that you like doing is simple. Take the same sentence structure: “Me gusta…” and add an infinitive verb. For example, “I like swimming,” becomes “Me gusta nadar.” You don’t have to conjugate the verb in sentences with gustar. If your verb is reflexive, keep the reflexive pronoun on the end. “I like to wake up early,” becomes “Me gusta despertarme temprano.” Writing Spanish sentences with gustar is even easier than waking up early!
Singular and Plural Uses of Gustar
In simple sentences, people say that they like something. Whether that thing is plural or singular determines which conjugation to use. If you want to say “He likes spaghetti,” you would use the third-person singular form and write “Le gusta el espagueti.” However, if he wanted to say he likes pastas, it would be written as follows: Le gustan las pastas. Always include the correct articles before your nouns! However, if you are using gustar in Spanish to express enjoyment of two separate singular things, the singular conjugation is used. For example, “We like reggae and rock,” becomes “Nos gusta el reggae y el rock.”
A good way to practice this new Spanish language lesson is to break out your notebook and practice. Since this sentence structure isn’t exactly intuitive to native English-speakers, write and re-write it for memorization. You should check out some of our other Spanish learning tips! Read more on how to become proficient in Spanish or check out some apps to help you practice.