You’ll hear ¡me gusta! A lot – it’s what we say in Spanish when we like something – but it doesn’t actually literally translate as I like it!
Really – literally – it means ‘it pleases me’ – the me is ‘me’ & the gusta is ‘it pleases’ , so you’re saying ‘me it pleases’ – all a bit back to front – what I call ‘Yoda Mode’ . Star wars fans will know what I mean!
So you need to disengage the brain a little for this – but when you get your head around it you’ll see that it’s really easier to deal with than other verbs!
When I was first taught GUSTAR, my Spanish teacher told us the only GUSTA (he/she/it pleases) & GUSTAN (they please) exist. A year or so later I was watching TV when I heard ¿Te gustamos? . I thought I was hearing things – after all, gustamos didn’t exist according to my Spanish teacher – & it wasn’t in my verb book either. But the more I thought about it the more certain I was that I had heard it & taking the context into account they had definitely been saying ¿do you like us?. And a bit of research later I discovered that yes, the other parts of GUSTAR do exist – but most of the time you won’t need them, so we can pretty much forget about them!
So, what we need is the pronoun – that little word which tells us who is being ‘pleased’ (who likes it) & GUSTA or GUSTAN.
GUSTA is used when it’s followed by a verb/action or one thing which pleases – remember GUSTA means it pleases
GUSTAN is used when it’s followed by a several things which please – remember GUSTAN means they please
|you (all)||(A VOSOTROS/AS)||OS|
So we have 6 pronouns: me = me ; te = you; le = him/her ; nos = us; os = you all & les = them.
- So – Me gusta nadar – I like to swim (me, it pleases, to swim)
- Te gustan las manzanas – You like apples (you, they please, the apples)
- Le gusta correr – He likes to run (him, it pleases, to run)
- Nos gustan las fresas – We like strawberries (us, they please, the strawberries.
- ¿Os gusta ese coche? – Do you all like that car? (you all, it pleases, that car?)
- No les gusta la música Jazz – They don’t like Jazz music (them, it doesn’t please, the Jazz music)
You might have noticed that there’s another column on the table which I haven’t mentioned. That’s because a lot of the time you won’t need it. You do need it though, when talking about someone else.
From my examples above : Le gusta correr – He likes to run….. but who is ‘he’ … or it might even be ‘she’ because the le doesn’t tell us who we are talking about. Without saying who is being pleased, we have no idea!.
So if Juan likes to run, we have to say A Juan le gusta correr …. & the ‘A’ is essential – we’re saying ‘to Juan, him, it pleases, to run’
Similarly, No les gusta la música Jazz, doesn’t actually tell us who doesn’t like Jazz – it could be anyone! But if I say A mis vecinos no les gusta la música Jazz. – you know that I’m talking about my neighbours! (Actually I have no idea if they do or not – maybe I should try turning the volume up to see if they complain!!)
¿Os gusta cantar? A mí sí .