Verbs like "gustar"
(Los verbos como "gustar")

The verb gustar can be hard for English speakers to learn because, while it's used to transmit the same idea as "to like", it doesn't work the same way as "to like" does. There are a couple of ways to think about gustar that might help you understand the difference.

The first is to think about the English verb "to disgust", which is derived from the same source as the Spanish verbs gustar and disgustar.* While we say, for example, "I like anchovies", we don't say "I disgust anchovies", we say "Anchovies disgust me". In Spanish, both gustar and disgustar work this way - we say Las anchoas me disgustan and Las anchoas me gustan - the thing that one likes or dislikes (anchovies) is the subject of gustar, which is why the verb is plural.

The other way to understand gustar is to think of it as meaning "to please" or "to be pleasing to" rather than "to like", because those two English verbs work more like gustar does. Following with the example of anchovies, you could think of "Las anchoas me gustan" as "Anchovies are pleasing to me".

One more thing to remember about gustar is that the thing you like can come before or after the verb, so Las anchoas me gustan and Me gustan las anchoas mean the same thing.

Finally, remember that if you want to be emphatic about who likes or doesn't like something, you can also use a phrase like a mí or a Susana. If you think of gustar as meaning "to be pleasing to (someone)", this makes sense, because a mí is literally "to me". A mí me gustan las anchoas could be translated as "To me, anchovies are pleasing".

*Note that "disgustar" in Spanish is not as strong as "to disgust"; it simply indicates dislike.

The verb "encantar" works just like gustar, but indicates a stronger liking. It can often be used to express English "to love" in the sense of "to like a lot", so "I love this restaurant" = "Me encanta este restaurante". Other verbs like "gustar" and "encantar" include:

FALTAR - to express "to lack or "to be missing"
A este abrigo le falta un botón. - This coat is missing a button.

CAER (bien/mal) - much like "gustar", it expresses "to have a good impression of someone"
Julián me cae muy bien. - I really like Julian. or I have a very good impression of Julian.

QUEDAR - expresses "to be left" or "to have (something) left"
Te quedan dos libros para leer. - You have two books left to read.


Some Spanish verbs like gustar have English counterparts that work the same way. Below is a list of some of the most common of these verbs, with examples:

DOLER - to hurt (usually with body parts: la cabeza, el estomago, etc.)
¿Te duele el tobillo? - Does your ankle hurt?

IMPORTAR - to be important to, to matter
Nos importa que seas feliz. - It matters to us that you be happy.

INTERESAR - to interest
La política me interesa mucho. - Politics interests me a lot.

MOLESTAR - to bother
A Lia no le molesta que le hagan preguntas. - It doesn't bother Lia for people to ask her questions.

QUEDAR (bien, mal, grande, etc.) - to look (good, bad, big, etc.) on (usually clothing)
Ese suéter te queda un poco grande. - That sweater looks a little big on you.

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