Spanish Verbs Like Gustar
In English, we say "I like the cake." In Spanish, there really isn't a work for "like". When you like something in Spanish, you say "it is pleasing to me" using the verb gustar. Instead of "I like the cake", you'd say, "The cake is pleasing to me" or more precisely "To me the cake is pleasing." Consider the following example.
I like cake. (perceived meaning)
Cake is pleasing to me (literal translation)
Me gusta la torta.
In the above example, "cake" is the subject of the sentence, so "gustar" is conjugated to the 3rd person singular and "me" is the direct object, showing to whom the cake is pleasing.
In Spanish, there are many verbs, like "gustar", where the indirect object requires an indirect object pronoun (me, te, le, nos, les). In these types of sentences, the verb is always conjugated to match the subject noun and the person is represented by the indirect object pronoun. These sentences may also begin or end with the indirect object and sometimes include the preposition "a" followed by a noun or pronoun. When the indirect object begins the sentence, the emphasis is focused on the person. Read and listen to the following examples, then repeat each out loud.
We are pleased by your visit.
Nos agrada tu visita.
Are you interested in going to the park today?
¿Les interesaría ir al parque hoy?
I am bothered by the light.
A mi me molesta la luz.
We don't like the buildings.
A nosotros no nos gustan los edificios.
Many women really like soap operas.
A muchas mujeres les encantan las telenovelas.
When a sentence ends with the indirect object, the majority of the emphasis falls on the subject rather than the person. Read and listen to the following examples, then repeat each one out loud.
Cold days are not pleasing to me.
Los días fríos no me gustan.
Jewelry is attractive to her.
La joyería le atrae.
Washing the car is your responsibility.
Lavar el coche te corresponde.
Politics are interesting to us.
La política nos interesa.
Placement of the "a" + pronoun/nounIf the indirect object comes at the end of the sentence, the verb is followed by a prepositional phrase such as "a mí" (to me) or "a nosotros" (to us), instead of the pronoun being placed in front of the indirect object.
Often, in order to clarify, a sentence or phrase will begin with a propositional phrase that indicates exactly who the indirect pronoun refers to. Consider the following examples.
He likes the car a whole lot.
A él le gusta el coche muchisimo.
You (formal) liked the movie.
A usted le gustó la película.
The following is a list of common Spanish verbs that function just like "gustar" as outlined above. Read and listen to each verb, then repeat each out loud.
to gladden (make happy)
to be enough
to fit; to fill
to agree; to be advisable
to be missing; to need
to seem; to appear to be
to be left over