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Caer Bien: To like it

Going to the private party where The Ramones were performing for the first time ever ended up changing the life of painter/ artist Arturo Vega. Our featured video interview with Vega captures the story.

Entonces, yo fui porque, pues, era una fiesta, ¿verdad? Y Dee Dee me caía bien.
"So, I went because, well, it was a party, right? And I liked Dee Dee."
[Caption 40,
Entrevista > Arturo Vega > 3]

So, students following the subtitles of this interview may choose to click the Spanish words that they don't know for Yabla's handy dictionary definitions. It happens that if they clicked caía, the dictionary would reveal that it's a third-person past tense of the verb caer. And what does caer mean?:

  • caer: v.: fall; drop, tumble; plunge; decline; droop; sink; demise; catch on

All these definitions are true, but what about "liking someone" -- as the verb is used here? Turns out that in Spanish, to say you like someone, you basically say that someone, well, falls well for (or, to) you. That is to say, Me cae bien means "I like him/ her" or "He/she made a good impression on me."

Conversely, Me cae mal means "I don't like him/her."

You may be wondering if he might have used the verb gustar, which also can be used to indicate liking something or someone. However, when using gustar to refer to people, there can be romantic/sexual connotations. Using caer bien eliminates any potential misunderstanding, as it refers to a purely platonic attraction.

In your travels through the Spanish speaking world you will undoubtedly come across other interesting uses of caer.

No puedes caer así sin avisar. (slang)
"You can't drop by like that without calling."

Siempre es igual, le cuentas un chiste y cae media hora más tarde.

"It's always the same, tell him a joke and he gets it
a half hour later."

Expressions

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