I “like” like you

Ah, the mysteries of liking something in Spanish! One of the trickiest verbs in Spanish, gustar, is often translated as to like, but to understand how to use this verb, you most definitely need to think of it as to be pleasing to. Then you have to know the indirect object pronouns – me (to me), te (to you, familiar), le (to him, to her, to you, formal), nos (to us), les (to them, to you all). Now take something you would want to express such as “I like fruit.” Realize that you can’t express this idea directly with the same structure as in English. Go through the back door and say it more literally as “Fruit is pleasing to me.” Remember that fruit is the subject and to me is the object. Now remember that indirect object pronouns always come before the verb, so start your sentence in Spanish with Me. Your subject of fruit is a singular word – la fruta (you have to add the word for the because you’re speaking of it in a general way), so your verb should be the third person singular form of a regular AR verb – gusta. You should end up with Me gusta la fruta. Remember this word order and that the first word is not the subject, but the object. Now let’s move on to a plural subject and another indirect object pronoun. Paul likes enchiladas. In this one note that your object is third person singular, requiring the le. This can be a catch-all pronoun because it can mean several things. Because of this, it’s often clarified. And yes, it does sound like double-duty overkill, but that’s the way it’s done. In front of your le, put A Pablo (remembering that you’re stating to Paul). Now realize that your subject in this structure is a plural one – las enchiladas, so make your verb third person plural of a regular AR verb, or gustan. You should end up with A Pablo le gustan las enchiladas. On one of the tracks of the CD recommended in this issue is a song titled Me gustas tú. I like you, but then, your mind is thinking of it as you are pleasing to me.
There are other verbs which function in this same way, and the trick to them is the backdoor approach. Think of faltar, often translated as to miss or to need. If you think of it as to be lacking to, it will work just like gustar. Me faltan diez pesos. A Pablo le falta la inteligencia. Another useful one is encantar, often translated as to really like or to love something. Think of it as to be enchanting to. Me encantan las fiestas. Nos encanta el ambiente de México (atmosphere).

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Author: language_link

Language Link is a leader in Spanish language immersion programs in countries throughout Latin America and Spain. Learn the language, live the culture! Travel to our school locations and experience the language and culture around the clock. From international executives to students of all ages, allow Language Link to assist you in making the right choice for learning Spanish through an in-country immersion program. We will help you plan your study trip from a one week stay up to six months. Our 25+ years of experience have placed thousands of delighted Spanish language students, and our knowledgeable staff will help you take the guess work out of finding the program best suited for you. Language Link gives you a safe and reliable way to arrange your Spanish study adventure. Through us you have the security of a professionally recognized U.S. contact.

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