Verbs Like Gustar  

Reflexive Verbs Verbs Like Gustar

Spanish has several verbs that, like gustar, tend to give English speakers some problems. The formation of these verbs follows the same pattern as the verb gustar: an indirect object pronoun (me, te, le, nos, os, les) and the verb which is usually in singular (gusta) or plural form (gustan). Some examples are provided below.

fascinar - to fascinate

Me fascina el ajedrez. - Chess fascinates me.

encantar - to enchant

Nos encanta tu carro. - We love your car.

interesar - to be of interest

A Diego le interesan las novelas. - Diego is interested in novels.

sorprender - to surprise

¿Te sorprendieron las noticias? - Were you surprised by the news?.

aburrir - to bore

fascinar - to be fascinating to

bastar - to be sufficient

importar - to be important to

caer bien - to suit

caer mal - to not suit

interesar - to be interesting to

dar asco - to be loathsome

molestar - to be a bother

disgustar - to hate something

parecer - to appear to be

doler - to be painful

picar - to itch

encantar - to "love" something

quedar - to be left over, remain

faltar - to be lacking something

volver loco - to be crazy

Spanish has frequent structures where the indirect object usually precedes the verb. These structures are often different in English.

Verbs of Affection

Certain verbs such as alegrar, encantar, divertir, convencer.. can be have anagentive and unaccusative structures. In the first one, the subject is the agent of the action (and thus, normal):

  • Ayer divertimos a los invitados.
    Yesterday we entertained the guests.

But the unaccusative structures are more confusing, since the order is inverted:

  • Me divirtió lo que hicieron los invitados
    I found it entertaining what the guests did/what the guests did entertained me.
  • Me interesa el arte moderno.
    I am interested in modern art/modern art interests me.
  • Me molesta que no pongan las tildes.
    I find it annoying when stress marks are not used /not using stress marks annoys me.

There are verbs where the action is involuntary, and therefore this structure is preferred, i.e. the verb agrees with the "passive object" (normally the direct object in English) and the person "affected" is the indirect object (normally the subject in English).

Me gusta tu casa
I like your house.
Me gustan tus casas.
I like your houses.
Me gustas (tú).
I like you.
Me gustan tus amigos.
I like your friends.
¿Te gusto (yo)?
Do you like me?
¿Quién te gusta?
Who do you like?
¿Quién os gusta?
Who do you (guys) like?
¿Quién le gusta a tu hermana?
Who does your sister like?
¿A quién le gusta tu hermana?
Who likes your sister?
Me interesa este asunto.
I find this topic interesting.
No me conviene esto.
This is not convenient for me.
No me molestas.
You are not bothering me.
A Juan le molesta Ana.
Juan finds Ana annoying.
Me caes bien (tú).
I like you.
Me cae bien tu amigo.
I like your friend.
Me caen bien tus amigos.
I like your friends.
Le caigo bien (a él).
He likes me.
Le cae bien (a él).
He likes him/her.
Le caemos bien (a él).
He likes us.
Le caen bien (a él).
He likes them.
Me apetece tomarme una cerveza.
I feel like having a beer.
Me apetece tomarme dos cervezas.
I feel like having two beers.
Me cuesta mucho el inglés.
I find English very hard.
Me cuestan mucho los idiomas.
I find languages very hard.
Me duele la pierna.
My leg hurts.
Me duelen las (dos) piernas.
My legs hurt.
Le duele la pierna.
His leg hurts.
Te duele la pierna.
Your leg hurts.
Les duele la pierna (their leg(s) hurts).
One leg each.
Nos duele la pierna (our legs hurts).
One leg each.
Le duele la pierna.
His leg hurts.
Le duelen la piernas.
His legs hurt.

There are more than 300 verbs with this structure: aburrir, acojonar, apetecer, asombrar, alegrar, agobiar, asustar, cansar, costar, encantar, enfadar, fastidiar, marear, relajar, deprimir, engañar, gustar, confundir, doler, liar, preocupar, cortar, extrañar...

Verbs of Motion, Change and Events

Again, the person (or thing) affected by the verbal action happens to be the indirect object:

Se cayó la taza.
The cup fell down (suddendly).
Se me cayó la taza.
I dropped the cup/the cup "fell on me."
Se le cayó la taza.
He dropped the cup.
Se quemó la comida.
The meal got burnt.
Se me quemó la comida.
I let the meal get burnt.
Se nos quemó la comida.
We let the meal get burnt.

Some have (or can have) the same structure in English:

Me ha ocurrido algo increíble.
Something incredible happened to me.
Se me ocurrió una idea.
An idea occurred to me.
¿Te ha pasado alguna vez?
Has it ever happened to you?
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