In this chapter we will discuss the verb ‘Gustar’ and other verbs that when conjugated in their common usage, require the addition of an object (Indirect Object).
All the rules regarding object pronouns apply here as well. The necessary grammar for the construction of such forms has already been learned (Objects pronouns and the present simple conjugations.)
Using the Table
The verb conjugated below is gustar (to like)
Not used in Latin America
* The left column in the table (a mí/a ti…) shows an optional addition used for stressing the object pronoun.
Constructing sentences is done in three steps: Step 1: Conjugate the verb according to the appropriate tense and subject pronoun. Step 2: Choose the corresponding object pronoun. Step 3: Join together the object to the conjugated verb.
Different Use in Spanish and English
Different Construction of the Sentence
It is important to understand that when using these verbs, the sentence is built differently in Spanish than in English. In English, we construct a sentence in which the person is the subject (i.e. We like the car). In Spanish, we construct a sentence in which the object is the subject (i.e. The car is pleasing to us), and therefore in literal translation to English we use the verb ‘pleasing’. Please note that both sentences convey the same idea, but are stated differently in Spanish and in English.
English: I like the car. Spanish: The car is pleasing to me. English: You-all like the trip. Spanish: The trip is pleasing to you-all.
Different Form of Conjugation
As stated above, in Spanish we construct a sentence in which the object is the subject. Therefore, the verb conjugation is done according to the object (i.e. the car.)
1. I like the car Me gusta el carro 2. I like the cars ar Me gustan los carros
As can be seen, in English the verb ‘to like’ is conjugated according to the person (‘I like’ in both examples.) In Spanish, the verb ‘gustar’ is conjugated according to the object (‘the car’ in the first example and ‘the cars’ in the second example). Therefore, in the first example we use ‘gusta’ (the car is pleasing - singular), and in the second example we use ‘gustan’ (the cars are pleasing – plural.)
As we have already seen, in Spanish we construct a sentence in which the object (the car/s) is the subject. Therefore, the indirect object (me, te, le…) refers to the person who likes (i.e. ‘I like’, we use ‘me’ because it is pleasing to me.)
This difference between English and Spanish causes a common mistake, in which English speakers say ‘Me gusto’ (instead of ‘me gusta’ or ‘me gustan’.)
(A mí) me gusta el carro I like the car (A mí) me gustan los carros I like the cars (A tí) te gusta el carro You like the car (A tí) te gustan los carros You like the cars (A él) le gusta el carro He likes the car (A él) le gustan los carros He likes the cars (A ella) le gusta el carro She likes the car (A ella) le gustan los carros She likes the cars (A usted) le gusta el carro You-formal like the car (A usted) le gustan los carros You-formal like the cars (A nosotros/as) nos gusta el carro We like the car (A nosotros/as) nos gustan los carros We like the cars (A ellos/as) les gusta el carro They like the car (A ellos/as) les gustan los carros They like the cars (A ustedes) les gusta el carro You-all like the car (A ustedes) les gustan los carros You-all like the cars
Caer bien (mal)
To (not) suit
1. It’s not important to us No nos importa 2. You-all like the food here (A ustedes) Les gusta la comida aquí 3. The mountains fascinate him Las montañas le encantan 4. Does it seem to you that something is missing? ¿(A tí) Te parece que falta algo?