Unit 11.2

Verbs like Gustar

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Introduction

The verb [verbo] is a kind of word with person, number, tense, mood, and aspect. It also indicates the action, movement, existence, condition, or state of the subject in the sentence.

Verbs of the type gustar [verbos de tipo gustar] (doler, encantar, interesar...) are used when we want to evaluate something, when one or more elements (the subject) produce a reaction, feeling, or sensation in another person (the indirect complement).

Form

Verbs of the type like gustar agree in number (singular or plural) with the subject. The noun, which is the subject in this case, usually follows the verb.

Constructions with verbs of this type have the following structure:

(A + tonic personal pronoun) + IC pronoun + verb in 3rd p. sing./pl. + subject in sing./pl.

The use of a + tonic personal pronoun is optional. It only serves to emphasise or distinguish who is being spoken about if there is any confusion in the sentence.

The following table shows the usage of the verb gustar (in the present indicative):

A + p. p. tónico Pronombre CI Verbo en sing./pl. Sujeto en sing./pl. 
A mí me
A ti te
A él/ella/usted le gusta/gustan la naranja/las naranjas
A nosotros/-as nos
A vosotros/-as os
A ellos/ellas/ustedes les

Other verbs with the same construction are: doler, encantar, importar, quedar, sentar, molestar, interesar, pasar, apetecer, parecer, faltar

Example

  • Me gusta el instituto (A mí);
  • Te encantan las clases de español (A ti);
  • Le interesa la universidad (A él).
  • Nos duelen los ojos de leer el periódico (A nosotros);
  • Os gustan las matemáticas (A vosotras);
  • Les interesan los ordenadores e internet (A ellos).

Use

Verbs of the type of gustar (doler, encantar, interesar…) are used when we want to evaluate something, that is, when one or more elements (the subject) produce a reaction, feeling, or sensation in another person (the indirect complement):

  • gustar y encantar: to express preferences;
  • interesar: to express interests;
  • doler: to express discomfort.

Summary

In Spanish, there is a category of gustar-type verbs (doler, encantar, interesar…) that work in the same way and are particular because they always need an IC pronoun to say who receives the action.

For example:
— «Me duelen las piernas». = The IC pronoun me tells who receives the action, las piernas are the subject;
— «A Ana le gustan mucho manzanas». = The IC pronoun le telss her who gets the action, manzanas are the subject.

NOTE: The pronoun is not the subject; it is the person who receives the action. Instead, the subject is the noun that usually follows the verb.

Check the contents of the {Form} section. Then move on to the {Example} section, which shows you the usage in context.

Exercises


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Español (original) | français | Italiano | Polskie

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