Spanish Lessons


Yabla's Top 10 Verbs Like Gustar

The focus of today's lesson will be "verbs like gustar." But... what is gustar like?! 


The Verb Gustar 

The Spanish verb  gustar describes the concept of "liking" someone or something. In contrast to English, where we'd say "We" (the subject) "like cheese" (the object), in Spanish, whatever "we like" becomes the subject that projects the action "onto us." This is similar to how the English verb "to please" functions, e.g., "Cheese pleases us," where "the cheese" carries out the action of "pleasing" (us). For an in-depth exploration of this topic, we recommend this two-part lesson on Gustar vs. "To Like": A Difference in Perception. In the meantime, we'll give you a few tips regarding conjugating the verb gustar and verbs that act in a similar fashion. 


1. An indirect object pronoun (me (to me), te (to you), le (to him/her/formal "you"), nos (to us), os (informal plural "to you"), and les ("to them" or plural "to you")) is used to indicate who is "being pleased," or, in English, the person who "likes" someone or something. 


2. Regardless of tense, the verb gustar is conjugated in accordance with the Spanish subject (what is "being liked" or "pleasing").


3. If the subject is a noun, the definite article is used (el, la, los, las, which mean "the").


4. Optionally, a phrase with a (to) + a prepositional pronoun ( (me), ti (you), él (him), ella (her), usted (formal "you"), nosotros (we), vosotros (informal plural "you"), or ustedes (plural "you")) can be added before or after the verb for emphasis. A direct object may also be introduced with a.


Armed with this information, let's look at a few examples:


A mí me gustan las hamburguesas.

I like hamburgers.

Caption 11, Español para principiantes Los colores

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Me gustas. 

I like you.

Caption 44, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 12

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¡A las niñas grandes les gustan los coches deportivos, les gusta el dinero, les gusta bailar!

Big girls like sports cars, they like money, they like "bailar"!

Captions 22-23, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 3 - Sam aprende a ligar - Part 3

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In accordance with our tips, in all of these examples, the indirect object pronoun indicates or agrees with who is "liking"/"being pleased," with me being "I" and les agreeing with the direct object, las niñas grande. The verb gustar, on the other hand, agrees with who or what "pleases"/"is liked" in English: the plural gustan with las hamburguesas and los coches deportivosgustas with the implied tú (you), and gusta with el dinero and the infinitive bailar.


Yabla's Top 10 Verbs that Function Like Gustar

Now that we've recalled how gustar functions, we bet you're dying to know Yabla's Top Ten Verbs Like Gustar in the sense of the "reversal" of the roles of the traditional subject and object. Let's take a look.


1. Doler (to hurt)

Although this verb is most often translated as just "hurt(s)," it might help you to think of the more literal translations for the examples below: "My legs hurt (me)" and "your head hurts (you)," respectively. 


¡Me duelen las piernas!

My legs hurt!

Caption 45, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 3 - Sam aprende a ligar - Part 1

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Cuando tú estás enfermo, te duele la cabeza,

When you're ill, your head hurts,

Captions 32-33, El Aula Azul Las Profesiones - Part 2

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2. Encantar (to love)

Note that as gustar can be translated as "to like," encantar is most often translated as "to love." However, it might behoove you to think of the English word "enchant(s)" to help remember the Spanish structure, e.g.  "Feathers enchant me." 


Me encantan las plumas.

I love feathers.

Caption 33, Ariana Cena especial

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Aquí, a los alemanes les encanta sentarse afuera

Here, Germans love to sit outside

Caption 21, Venezolanos por el mundo Zoraida en Alemania - Part 2

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3. Fascinar (to fascinate/be fascinated)

Interestingly, although fascinar can be translated as "to fascinate," it is more commonly used in Spanish than its English equivalent and can often mean something comparable to the verb encantar, or "to love." 


Es una ciudad que me fascina,

It's a city that fascinates me

Caption 16, Venezolanos por el mundo Gio en Barcelona

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y me fascinaba perderme entre sus calles

and it fascinated me to get lost in its streets

Caption 11, Venezolanos por el mundo Gio en Barcelona

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An alternative translation for this second caption might be: "and I loved getting lost in its streets."


4. Hacer falta (to need/be necessary)

While "need" is the most often-heard translation for the verb hacer falta, you can think of the following examples with "to be necessary for" to more closely imitate their Spanish structure, i.e., "the only thing that's necessary for us" and "Those songs are necessary for me."


lo único que nos hace falta es una voz líder.

the only thing we need is a lead singer.

Caption 31, X6 1 - La banda - Part 3

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Me hacen falta esas cantadas

I need those songs

Caption 66, Félix Carlos Hello Chamo

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5. Importar (to matter/be important to)

While the English verbs "to matter (to)" and "be important (to)" work much like the Spanish verb gustar, importar plus an indirect object pronoun can also occasionally be translated as "to care about."


Me importás vos.

You matter to me.

Caption 23, Yago 6 Mentiras - Part 2

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¡Mis hijos me importan!

I care about my children!

Caption 60, Yago 3 La foto - Part 6

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This second example could also be translated more literally as "My children matter to me!"


6. Interesar (to interest/be interested in)

The verb interesar can be translated as either "to interest" or "be interested." For example, if you say, Me gusta la ciencia, either the more literal "science interests me" or "I'm interested in science" suffice as possible translations. Let's see a couple of examples, noting the inclusion of the word atraer (to attract), which also functions like gustar.


no me atraen ni me interesan...

they neither attract me nor interest me...

Caption 8, Enanitos Verdes Amores Lejanos

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si les interesa saber cómo es la cumbia, en Yabla pueden encontrar un video

if you're interested in knowing what cumbia is like, you can find a video on Yabla

Captions 90-91, Cleer y Lida El Carnaval de Barranquilla - Part 2

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7. Molestar (to bother)

Since the English verb "to bother" works much like the Spanish molestar, the translations for sentences with the verb molestar plus an indirect object pronoun should seem pretty straightforward for English speakers. 


¿Por qué te molestan tanto?

Why do they bother you so much?

Caption 3, Guillermina y Candelario La Peluqueria del Mar - Part 2

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¡No, no me molestas para nada! -Adiós.

No, you don't bother me at all! -Goodbye.

Caption 48, Yago 9 Recuperación - Part 1

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8. Parecer (to seem/seem like/think)

In our first example below, a more literal translation would be "it seems cool to them." However, "to think" is a very common translation for parecer(le) a alguien (to seem to someone). For more on the verb parecer, check out Clase Aula Azul's seven-part series on El verbo parecer as well as Doctora Consejo's video on Parecer y parecerse.


Están muy interesados en la música, les parece chévere.

They're very interested in the music, they think it's cool.

Caption 54, Cleer Entrevista a Lila

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¿Te parezco una mujer?

Do I seem like a woman to you?

Caption 29, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 1

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9. Preocupar (to worry)

When you want to talk about "being worried" or "worrying" yourself, the reflexive verb preocuparse (to worry) is the one to choose. But in the case that something worries you, the verb preocupar plus an indirect object pronoun can help you to describe this. 


Sí, te preocupa. -¿A mí qué me preocupa? -¿Morena?

Yes, it worries you. -What worries me? -Morena?

Caption 32, Yago 9 Recuperación - Part 4

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para hablarles de un tema que parece del pasado pero que nos preocupa a todos en el presente.

to talk to you about a topic that seems [to be] from the past but which concerns us all in the present.

Captions 28-29, La Sub30 Familias - Part 1

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10. Quedar (to have left)

In literal terms, quedar plus an indirect object pronoun can be thought of as "what remains" or "is left for" someone or something. Let's take a look at this verb in action:


Como: Todavía me queda tiempo.

Like: I still have time.

Caption 110, Escuela BCNLIP Clase con Javi: el futuro - Part 10

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todavía nos quedan muchos más prefijos para ver.

we still have a lot more prefixes left to look at.

Caption 52, Carlos explica Los prefijos en español - Part 4

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Note that this very same verb can also refer to how something "looks on" or "fits" someone when accompanied by adjectives such as bien, mal, grande, etc. 


Que me pasa a mí es que los guantes siempre me quedan grandes.

What happens to me is that the gloves are always too big for me.

Caption 78, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 5

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With this final example, we conclude our list of Yabla's Top Ten Verbs Like Gustar. While these are just a handful of the many verbs that function like gustar in Spanish, we hope that this lesson has aided your understanding of how they work and look forward to your suggestions and comments.


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The Many Facets of the Verb Encontrar

While the most common translation for the Spanish verb encontrar is "to find," this verb is quite versatile and can be used to express a plethora of ideas. Let's take a look at some notable examples. 


As previously stated, encontrar most typically means "to find" in the sense of "locate" or "discover," as in the following examples:

...desde Argentina hasta México, podemos encontrar cumbia.

...from Argentina to Mexico, we can find cumbia.

Caption 24, Sonido Babel - La cumbia

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Pero abuelo,

But Grandpa,

yo encontré muchas cosas para hacer el regalo de Guillermina. 

I found a lot of things to make Guillermina's gift.

Caption 14, Guillermina y Candelario - La Peluqueria del Mar

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However, the verb encontrar has several additional uses. It is frequently seen in its reflexive form, encontrarse, which, similarly to the verb estar, can mean "to be" or "find oneself":


Porque Barcelona se encuentra entre el mar y la montaña.

Because Barcelona is located between the sea and the mountains.

Caption 14, Blanca - Sobre la ciudad de Barcelona

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Sí, el Señor Aldo Sirenio no se encuentra en este momento en la empresa.

Yes, Mister Aldo Sirenio is not at the company at the moment.

Caption 35, Yago - 5 La ciudad

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La gente verdaderamente se encuentra muy preocupada.

People are truly very worried.

Caption 19, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1

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Note that, like the verb estar (to be), encontrarse can refer to physical location, a temporary state of being, or the fact of being physically present. For this reason, any of the previous examples could be replaced by the verb estar with no change in translation as follows: 


-Porque Barcelona está entre el mar y la montaña

-Sí, el Señor Aldo Sirenio no está en este momento en la empresa.

-La gente verdaderamente está muy preocupada


Now, let's look at an example where encontrarse might be more literally translated as "to find onself":


De nuevo me encuentro sin un solo centavo

Again I find myself without a single cent

Caption 40, Control Machete - El Apostador

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Another use of encontrarse is comparable to the verb sentirse (to feel) in Spanish:

Bueno Adrián, ¿qué tal estás?

Well Adrian, how are you?

¿Cómo te encuentras

How do you feel?

Captions 5-6, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

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Quiero pedir una cita para hoy

I want to make an appointment for today

porque no me encuentro bien.

because I don't feel well.

Captions 9-10, Ariana - Cita médica

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That said, should a Spanish speaker ask you, "¿Cómo te encuentras?" ("How are you?" or "How do you feel?"), possible answers might include, "Estoy bien" (I'm well), "Más o menos" (OK), or "Me siento mal" (I feel bad). Just don't say "Estoy aquí" (I'm here) since this question most definitely does not refer to your whereabouts! If the question is "¿Dónde te encuentras?" (Where are you?), on the other hand, "Estoy en casa" (I'm at home), or wherever you might be, would be a perfectly acceptable response.

Additionally, the reflexive verb encontrarse con can mean either "to meet" in a planned fashion or "to run into" by chance:


Eh, mi hermanito menor se encontró con la noviecita.

Hey, my little brother met up with his little girlfriend.

Caption 24, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1

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Imagínate abuelo,

Imagine, Grandpa,

que cuando regresábamos de la escuela

that when we were coming back from school,

nos encontramos con mi amiga, la rana. 

we ran into my friend, the frog.

Captions 16-18, Guillermina y Candelario - Una Amiga muy Presumida

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In fact, el encuentro is also a noun which can mean either a planned or chance meeting or encounter.


Now, let's look at some alternative meanings of the regular (non-reflexive) form of encontrar, which can also be used in a similar manner as the verb parecer (to seem): 


Bueno, doctor, y a mi enfermito ¿cómo lo encuentra?

Well, Doctor, and my little patient, how is he?

Captions 23-24, El Ausente - Acto 1

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Si al mundo lo encuentras enfermizo, delirante y brutal

If you find the world sickly, delirious and brutal

Caption 2, SiZu Yantra - Bienvenido

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Although the first example could literally be translated as "How do you find him?" a viable Spanish alternative could be ¿Cómo le parece? (How does he seem to you?), as the doctor is essentially being questioned about his opinion regarding the state of the patient. As the second example also uses the concept of "finding" to describe one's opinion, si el mundo le parece enfermizo (if the world seems sickly to you) expresses a similar idea. 


Finally, like in English, encontrar can be used to indicate a determination of fact, or "finding":


El jurado lo encontró culpable por robo en primer grado.  

The jury found him guilty of first-degree theft. 


These are just some of the many uses of the verb encontrar. We hope that you have found them useful y que no te encuentres muy agobiado/a (you don't feel too overwhelmed). And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions!


Grammar Verbs

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