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Muy vs. Mucho in Spanish

Should you use mucho or muyDo you know how to say the Spanish words muy and mucho in English? What is the difference between muy vs. mucho in Spanish? 

 

Definitions of Muy vs. Mucho

Simply put, muy in English would be "very" or "really," while mucho in English means "many," "much," or "a lot." However, as these words can wear muchos sombreros (a lot of hats), muy vs. mucho can be un concepto muy difícil (a very difficult concept) for many English speakers. 

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Muy + Adjective

When muy is accompanied by an adjective, the adjective that modifies the noun must agree with that noun in terms of gender and number. The "good news," however, is that the word muy itself always stays the same, regardless of whether the noun it modifies is singular or plural or masculine or feminine. Let's take a look:

 

es un artista plástico español muy reconocido.

is a very famous fine art artist.

Caption 14, Amaya Vínculo: un mural muy especial

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¡estos plátanos son muy pequeños!

these bananas are very small!

Caption 30, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

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Es una ciudad muy linda que tiene un cri'... clima primaveral.

It's a very beautiful city that has a spri'... spring-like climate.

Caption 47, Cleer Entrevista con Jacky

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Las ranas son definitivamente las mejores maestras en salto.muhy Pero son muy vanidosas.

Frogs are definitely the best jumping masters. But they're very full of themselves.

Captions 22-23, Guillermina y Candelario Una Amiga muy Presumida - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Just to reiterate, although the adjectives are singular or plural and masculine or feminine, in agreement with their corresponding nouns, the word muy always remains the same. 

 

Muy + Adverb

The word muy in Spanish also remains the same when accompanying an adverb, which modifies a verb, as in the following examples:

 

Con un poco de práctica, podremos aprender estas reglas muy fácilmente

With a bit of practice, we will be able to learn these rules very easily.

Caption 55, Carlos explica Acentuación Cap. 3: La división en sílabas - Part 1

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Kristen, por ejemplo, tú has dicho, muy rápidamente,

Kristen, for example, you've said, very quickly,

Caption 11, Clase Aula Azul Pedir deseos - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

When constructing or understanding sentences with muy in Spanish, how will you know whether you are contending with an adjective or an adverb? When you see a word that ends with the suffix -mente (equivalent to -ly in English), as in the examples above, you can be sure you have an adverb. However, as not all adverbs take this form and some words can function as either adjectives or adverbs, depending upon the context, it can sometimes be tough to tell the difference. Let's take a look at an example with the word rápido, which may be used as an adverb in lieu of rápidamente:

 

porque lo hacen muy rápido

because they do it very quickly.

Caption 46, Animales en familia Señales de calma y cosquillas en los perros

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Like the English word "fast," rápido can function as an adjective when describing a noun (e.g. un carro rápido/a fast car) or an adverb when describing an action (el carro va rápido/the car goes fast) to talk about something that happens "fast" or "quickly." The tricky aspect of this is that, while rápido would need to agree in terms of gender and number when employed as an adjective (e.g. unos carros rápidos), as an adverb, it remains the same (in its masculine singular form) regardless of the number of people or objects performing the action. Let's see one more example:

 

Vamos a trabajar muy fuerte.

We're going to work very hard.

Caption 29, Documental de Alejandro Fernandez Viento A Favor - Part 2

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Note that as always, the word muy is unchanging, and because fuerte (strong, hard, etc.) works as an adverb here, it remains unchanged, in its singular form, as well. Were it an adjective, on the other hand, gender and number would need to be taken into account, as in the example "Somos muy fuertes" (We are very strong). 

 

Mucho as an Adjective: Mucho + Noun

Moving on to the word mucho in Spanish, taking into account what we have learned thus far regarding adjectives and adverbs, let's examine how this word can function as either of these parts of speech. To start, when mucho functions as an adjective, it must agree in terms of number and gender with the noun it modifies. Let's look:

 

¿Sí? No tengo mucho tiempo libre ahora. 

Right? I don't have a lot of free time now.

Caption 20, Clase Aula Azul Pedir deseos - Part 2

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La verdad es que yo he tenido muchos perros,

The truth is that I've had many dogs,

Caption 50, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 11

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En Málaga, hay mucha gente con tus mismos síntomas. 

In Malaga, there are a lot of people with your same symptoms.

Caption 20, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

muchas personas les gusta ir de vacaciones allí 

A lot of people like to go on vacation there

Caption 22, El Aula Azul Adivina el país - Part 1

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As you can see in these examples that employ masculine singular/plural and feminine singular/plural nouns, the form mucho takes (mucho, muchos, mucha, or muchas) changes in accordance with the noun it modifies. 

 

Mucho as an Adverb: Mucho + Verb

In contrast, when mucho functions as an adverb, modifying a verb, it is always mucho in the singular/masculine form, and the gender/quantity of the noun or verb has no effect on it. Let's look at some examples:

 

¿Se utiliza mucho el ajo en los platos peruanos?

Is garlic used a lot in Peruvian dishes?

Caption 19, Recetas de cocina Papa a la Huancaína

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Estos ejercicios ayudan mucho

These exercises really help

Caption 59, Bienestar con Elizabeth Relajación

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Me gusta mucho este parque.

I really like this park.

Caption 9, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

Sí, me gustan mucho las uvas.

Yes, I like grapes a lot.

Caption 21, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

Mucho/os/a/as as a Pronoun

To conclude our discussion on muy vs. mucho, note that the word mucho and its corresponding feminine/plural alternatives can be used as pronouns to replace nouns that have been mentioned or implied. Notice that the pronoun forms of mucho must agree in gender and number with the nouns they replace, as follows:

 

¿Se encuentran aquí buenas cositas o no, buenas gangas? -Sí, sí, sí. -¿Sí? -Muchas

Can you find good stuff here or not, good bargains? -Yes, yes, yes. -Yes? -Many.

Captions 102-103, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 14

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Sí. -¿Que mucha más gente viene ahora? Sí, mucha. -Yo tengo un niño pequeño entonces...

Yes. -That a lot more people come now? Yes, a lot. -I have a small child so...

Captions 43-44, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 16

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Puedes ver que no tenemos muchos porque hemos vendido últimamente bastantes.

You can see that we don't have many because we have sold quite a few lately.

Captions 46-47, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 11

 Play Caption
 

While you can clearly see in the first two examples that the word mucho changes forms (to mucha and muchas) to agree with the feminine singular and plural nouns it replaces (cositas/gangas and gente), the third example is notable because the noun being replaced by the masculine plural form muchos is not immediately apparent. However, since the conversation in question, which began several captions earlier, involves cars (the masculine plural noun, los coches), the masculine plural form muchos must be utilized to express the idea of "many" in this context. 

 

We hope that this lesson has helped to clarify the difference between muy vs. mucho in Spanish since sus muchos usos y matices pueden resultar muy difíciles (their many uses and nuances can be very difficult) for English speakers. We welcome any insight you might have on mucho vs. muy in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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Demonstrative Adjectives in Spanish

Do you know how to say "those" or "that" in Spanish? Let's explore Spanish demonstrative adjectives. However, before doing that, let's start this lesson with an important definition.

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What Is a Demonstrative Adjective?

Adjectives describe and modify nouns. We use demonstrative adjectives to determine which person or object, for example, we are referring to, taking its distance with respect to the speaker and/or listener into account. Let's first review our options in English:

 

- Near the speaker: "this" and "these."

- Near the listener OR far from both the speaker and the listener: "that" and "those."

 

The Gender Factor and Greater Number of Demonstrative Adjectives in Spanish

While there are only four demonstrative adjectives in English, you will notice that there are many more in Spanish (twelve to be exact!). Why is that? One reason is that, because nouns in Spanish have a gender, demonstrative adjectives in Spanish are not only singular and plural but masculine and feminine as well.

 

In addition, Spanish has two different sets of demonstrative adjectives to differentiate between nouns that are close to the listener vs. nouns that are far from both the speaker and listener (roughly corresponding to the English concept of "over there" rather than just "there"). 

 

Let's take a closer look at the demonstrative adjectives in Spanish, using M to indicate "masculine" and F to indicate "feminine":

 

- Near the speaker: "this" (M: este, F: esta) and "these" (M: estos, F: estas).

- Near the listener: "that" (M: ese, F: esa) and "those" (M: esos, F: esas).

- Far from both the speaker and the listener: "that" (over there) (M: aquel, F: aquella) and "those" (over there) (M: aquellos, F: aquellas).

 

It is worth noting that, in addition to indicating further physical distance, aquel/aquella/aquellos/aquellas can also refer to metaphorical distance such as dates or events in the future or past. 

 

How to Pronounce Demonstrative Adjectives in Spanish

Now that we know the demonstrative adjectives in Spanish, it's time to look at some examples. Let's watch and listen to the following clips:

 

Near the speaker: este, esta, estos, estas

 

Me gusta mucho este parque.

I really like this park.

Caption 9, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

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Esta mochila es de Lucas.

This backpack is Lucas'.

Caption 59, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 3: ¿De quién es esta mochila?

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En la noche, utilizaremos estos vasos bajos para servir licor.

At night, we'll use these short glasses to serve liquor.

Caption 20, Ana Carolina - El comedor

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Estas cintas son las que estamos sacando recientemente;

These ribbons are the ones that we are coming out with recently;

son nuevos diseños.

they are new designs.

Caption 19, Comercio - Camisas tradicionales

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Near the listener: ese, esa, esos, esas

 

Oiga y ese carro, esa belleza ¿de dónde la sacó, hermano, ah?

Hey and that car, that beauty, where did you get it, brother, huh?

Caption 43, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 1

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¿Y esos otros tatuajes que tienes aquí, de qué son?

And those other tattoos you have here, what are they of?

Caption 67, Adícora, Venezuela - El tatuaje de Rosana

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Mire, Rubio, yo necesito que usted

Look, Rubio, I need you

le ponga vigilancia inmediata a esas dos mujeres, hermano.

to put those two women under immediate surveillance, brother.

Caption 52, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 4

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Far from both the speaker and the listener: aquel, aquella, aquellos, aquellas

 

La terminación del piso sería, en el futuro, de roca...

The last part of the floor would be, in the future, made out of rock...

de roca rústrica [sic] a propósito traída de aquel cerro que está allá.

out of rustic rock brought specifically from that hill over there.

Captions 22-23, Edificio en Construcción - Hablando con los trabajadores

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Esas cifras ya nos dicen

Those numbers tell us

que aquellas civilizaciones prehistóricas

that those prehistoric civilizations

ya sabían mucho de cálculo. 

already knew a lot about calculus.

Captions 27-29, Rosa - Los dólmenes de Antequera

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Sería, "Aquellos coches son de mi padre"

Would be, "Those cars are my father's"

o "Aquellas casas son de mi madre".

or "Those houses are my mother's."

Captions 35-36, Lecciones con Carolina - Adjetivos demostrativos

 Play Caption

 

Keep in mind, however, that in less formal Spanish, we tend to use ese, esa, esos, and esas much more than aquel, aquella, aquellos, aquellas.

 

That's all for today. Although there are many more demonstrative adjectives in Spanish than in English, learning to use them is relatively simple. We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

Gusta vs Gustan: How to Use Gustar in Singular and Plural

Are you familiar with the Spanish verb gustar (to like)? Have you ever been in a situation where you didn't know whether to use gusta or gustan when talking about something you like? If using gusta vs gustan is tricky for you, here are some simple rules to help you understand the difference between gusta and gustan.

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The easy conjugation of gustar

Let's start with some good news. When you want to say that you like someone or something, the only thing you need to know is how to conjugate the verb gustar in the third person either in its singular (gusta) or plural (gustan) form. Let's take a look at a couple of simple sentences with gustar:

 

A mí me gusta el acento de las colombianas.

I like the Colombian women's accent.

Caption 50, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 2

 Play Caption

 

Sí, a mí me gustan las plantas y las flores y los árboles.

Yes, I like the plants and the flowers and the trees.

Captions 12-13, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

That's it. You don't need anything else. Now, let's see when to use gusta or gustan.

 

When to use gusta or gustan?

The following simple rules will help you to master the gustan vs gusta battle.

 

Using gusta

 

Use the third person singular gusta for the following cases:

 

1. When the verb gustar is followed by a singular noun.

 

Me gusta la camisa.

I like the shirt.

Caption 4, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 2: Sam va de compras

 Play Caption

 

Keep in mind that most of the time, you will need to place a definite article before the noun.

 

2. When the verb gustar is followed by a verb in the infinitive.

 

...y me gusta llevar faldas normalmente, sobre todo en... en invierno.

...and I like to wear skirts usually, especially in... in winter.

Captions 6-7, El Aula Azul - Actividades Diarias

 Play Caption

 

3. When the verb gustar is followed by several infinitive verbs.

A Pedro le gusta leer, tocar guitarra y hacer ejercicio.

Pedro likes to read, play guitar and exercise.

 

Using gustan

 

Use the third person plural gustan for the following cases:

 

1. When the verb gustar is followed by a plural noun.

 

A Lola le gustan los hombres fuertes.

Lola likes strong men.

Caption 14, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam

 Play Caption

 

2. When the verb gustar is followed by multiple, independent nouns.

Me gustan el diseño, la decoración y la arquitectura de esa casa.

I like the design, decoration, and architecture of that house.

 

Gusta vs gustan with questions and negative sentences

When asking questions or stating negative sentences, you need to stick to the same rules we mentioned before. Let's look at a couple of examples:

 

¿Te gusta la ciencia?

Do you like science?

Caption 42, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 2

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A mí no me gusta tu camiseta.

I don't like your shirt.

Caption 12, Español para principiantes - Los colores

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¿No te gustan las velas?

You don't like candles?

Caption 38, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema

 Play Caption

 

That's it for today. But before we leave you, we invite you to answer this very simple question so you can practice a little bit the difference between gusta and gustan: ¿Qué te gusta hacer en tu tiempo libre? And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

The Essential Spanish Question Words

How many question words in Spanish are you familiar with? Do you know how to write a question in Spanish? Asking questions is one of the most important skills you need to master in the language you are learning. In this lesson, we will learn the most important interrogative words in Spanish. However, before we explore those words, let's discuss a couple of things about asking questions in Spanish. 

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How do you say the word 'question' in Spanish?

'Pregunta' is how you say the word 'question' in Spanish. 'Pregunta' is a feminine noun and its plural form is 'preguntas'. Let's practice the pronunciation of this term:

 

Kevin, la pregunta es:

Kevin, the question is:

Caption 13, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1

 Play Caption

 

Los voy a dejar con cuatro preguntas.

I am going to leave you with four questions.

Caption 48, Carlos explica - Tuteo, ustedeo y voseo: Ustedes y vosotros

 Play Caption

 

Spanish question structure

Do you know how to write a question in Spanish? Let's take a look at the basic structure of a question in Spanish.

 

Punctuation and question marks

To begin with, you need to stick to the rules of Spanish punctuation. Because of that, when you write a question in Spanish you need to remember that question marks are always double-sided. In other words, you need to start the question with an opening question mark (¿) and end it with a closing one (?):

 

¿Cómo es Japón?

What's Japan like?

¿Qué te gusta de Japón?

What do you like about Japan?

Captions 69-70, Clase Aula Azul - Pedir deseos

 Play Caption

 

Yes/No questions

Let's start with simple questions. Believe it or not, for these kinds of questions your intonation is what matters the most. You basically make Yes/No questions by transforming a statement into a question. The Spanish question structure for these kinds of questions is the following:

 

¿ + (subject) + conjugated verb + (additional information) + ?

 

Please note that the terms in parenthesis are optional. Let's see a couple of examples:

 

A Pedro le gusta comer pizza. (Pedro likes to eat pizza.)

¿A Pedro le gusta comer pizza? (Does Pedro like to eat pizza?)

 

For negative questions, you just need to place a "no" before the conjugated verb.

 

No quieres estudiar. (You don't want to study.)

¿No quieres estudiar? (Don't you want to study?)

 

Go ahead and play the following clips so you can hear the intonation of the following Yes/No questions. Notice how the pitch of the speaker's voice gets higher at the end of the sentence when asking questions in Spanish:

 

Mmm... ¿Quieres ir al cine?

Mmm... Do you want to go to the movies?

-Sí, ¡buena idea!

-Yes, good idea!

Captions 45-46, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

¿Necesitas ayuda?

Do you need help?

-Mmm... Sí.

-Mmm... Yes.

Captions 9-10, Español para principiantes - La hora

 Play Caption

 

¿No conoces Manhattan?

You don't know Manhattan?

Caption 37, Yago - 2 El puma

 Play Caption

 

As you can see, it is very common to start Yes/No questions with a conjugated verb.

 

Questions that ask for specific information

The following is the Spanish question structure you need to keep mind when your question is aimed at getting some sort of information:

 

¿ + (preposition) + question word + conjugated verb + (additional information) + ?

 

Please note that the terms in parenthesis are optional. Let's see a couple of examples:

 

¡Oh! ¿Dónde está el cajero automático?

Oh! Where's the ATM?

Caption 36, Natalia de Ecuador - Palabras de uso básico

 Play Caption

 

In the example above, we have the following structure: 

¿ + question word (dónde) + conjugated verb (está) + additional information (el cajero automático) + ?

 

Let's listen to another clip:

 

¿Desde cuándo tienes este piso?

Since when have you had this apartment?

Caption 35, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos

 Play Caption

 

In this last example, the Spanish question structure is the following: 

¿ + preposition (desde) + question word (cuándo) + conjugated verb (tienes) + additional information (este piso) + ?

 

Now that we have seen the structure of a question, let's take a look at some Spanish question words in sentences.

 

Top Spanish question words

It's time to review the most important interrogative words in Spanish. If you are thinking about WH questions, you are right. Let's find out what the Spanish question words are for 'what', 'which', 'when', 'where', 'who', 'why' and 'how'.

 

Top question words in Spanish

For your reference, here's a list of the top question words in Spanish.

 

What / Which (Qué / Cuál)

When (Cuándo)

Where (Dónde)

Who (Quién)

Why (Por qué)

How (Cómo)

 

Now, let's see each one of these question words in action with a list of some of the most basic Spanish questions you can ask.

 

Basic questions to ask in Spanish using WH questions

And now, let's dive into our list.

 

What / Which (Qué / Cuál)

 

Diremos, "¿Qué hora es?"

We'll say, "What time is it?"

Caption 49, Español para principiantes - La hora

 Play Caption

 

O, ¿A qué te dedicas?

Or, What do you do? [with "tú"].

Caption 17, Karla e Isabel - Tú y Usted

 Play Caption

 

Oye, y ¿en qué trabajas?

Hey, and what do you do [for a living]?

Caption 82, Ricardo - La compañera de casa

 Play Caption

 

Por supuesto; ¿cuál es su dirección de correo?

Of course; what is your e-mail address?

Caption 69, Negocios - Empezar en un nuevo trabajo

 Play Caption

 

¿Recuerdas cuál era la copa para servir vino?

Do you remember which cup was the one for serving wine?

Caption 36, Ana Carolina - El comedor

 Play Caption

 

When (Cuándo)

 

¿Y cuándo hizo el "check-in"?

And when did he check-in?

Caption 13, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 3

 Play Caption

 

¿Cuándo terminas de estudiar?

When do you finish studying?

Caption 72, Carlos explica - Tuteo, ustedeo y voseo: Conjugación

 Play Caption

 

Where (Dónde)

 

¿De dónde eres?

Where are you from?

Caption 36, Curso de español - ¿De dónde eres?

 Play Caption

 

Y ¿en dónde vives?

And where do you live?

Caption 8, Cleer - Entrevista a Lila

 Play Caption

 

Let's see a couple of clips from Raquel to see the kind of questions you ask when you want to find out where something is located:

 

¿Me podrías decir dónde está el baño?

Could you tell me where the bathroom is?

Caption 7, Raquel - Expresiones para un festival de música.

 Play Caption

 

¿Sabes dónde hay alguna farmacia?

Do you know where there's a pharmacy?

Caption 24, Raquel - Expresiones para un festival de música.

 Play Caption

 

Who (Quién)

We use 'who' when we want to find out someone's identity. Let's see a couple of examples:

 

Mi jugador favorito juega en el Real Madrid.

My favorite player plays for Real Madrid.

¿Quién es?

Who is it?

Captions 19-20, El Aula Azul - Las Profesiones

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¿Usted quién es?

Who are you?

Roberto. Un amigo.

Roberto. A friend.

Captions 24-25, Yago - 9 Recuperación

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Why (Por qué)

 

¿Por qué dices eso? -No...

Why are you saying that? -No...

Caption 14, Cortometraje - Beta

 Play Caption

 

How (Cómo)

 

Para saludar, podemos decir: "Hola. ¿Cómo estás? ¿Todo bien?"

To greet (people), we can say: "Hello. How are you? (Is) everything good?"

Caption 7, Español en las calles - Varias expresiones

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Keep in mind that the word 'cómo' is not always translated as the English word 'how'. In fact, one of the most basic Spanish questions you can ask is a good example of that:

 

Buenos días, ¿cómo te llamas?

Good morning, what's your name?

Caption 8, La rutina diaria - La mañana

 Play Caption

 

When we want to find out someone's age or the price of an object, we combine 'how' with other words such as 'old' or 'much'. When we want to get that kind of information, we use other interrogative words in Spanish. Let's take a look:

 

Ah, lindo.

Oh, nice.

¿Cuánto cuesta?

How much does it cost?

Captions 33-34, Natalia de Ecuador - Palabras de uso básico

 Play Caption

 

¿Cuántos años tienes?

How old are you?

Caption 6, Cleer - Entrevista a Lila

 Play Caption

 

Ah, vale. ¿Cuántos hijos tienes?

Oh, OK. How many sons do you have?

Caption 39, Clase Aula Azul - El verbo parecer

 Play Caption

 

¿Y cuántas botellas de agua hay aquí?

And how many bottles of water are there here?

Caption 78, Español para principiantes - Los números del 1 al 100

 Play Caption

 

And that's it for now. We hope you use this review of the most important Spanish question words as the perfect excuse to start asking questions in Spanish. Are you ready? We encourage you to do that and don't forget to send us your questions and comments.

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Gustar vs. "To Like": A Difference in Perception - Part 1

The verb gustar, or Spanish equivalent of "to like," tends to confuse English speakers because, in terms of the relationship between a sentence's subject and object, it functions in exactly the opposite way. To better understand this, let's define these two terms:

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Generally speaking, the subject of a sentence is the person, place, thing, or idea that performs an action.

 

The object of a sentence is the person, place, thing, or idea that receives the action of the sentence's verb. 

 

A very simple example of this concept would be: "I threw the ball," where "I" is the subject, or performer of the action, and "the ball" is the object, or recipient of the action. 

 

That said, with the English verb "to like," it is the subject of the sentence that "does the liking." Let's look at a few simple examples:

 

She likes pizza ("She" is the subject who performs the action of liking onto the object, "pizza").

 

Anna and John like dogs ("Anna and John" is the subject; they perform the action of liking onto the object, "dogs"). 

 

We like you ("We" is the subject that performs the action of liking onto the object, "you"). 

 

In Spanish, on the other hand, the subject, or performer of the action, is the person, place, or thing that, in English, is "being liked." To see this in action, let's take a look at some captions from a Yabla video on this very topic:

 

Me gusta mucho este parqueA ti también te gusta ¿verdad? Sí, me gustan las plantas. Sí, a mí me gustan las plantas y las flores y los árboles

I really like this parkYou like it too, right? Yes, I like the plants. Yes, I like the plants and the flowers and the trees.

Captions 9-13, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption
 

In Spanish, este parque (this park), las plantas (the plants), and las plantas y las flores y los árboles (the plants and the flowers and the trees) are the subjects of these sentences, as they are thought to "cause" the implied objects yo (I) and tú (you) to like them. In their English translations, on the other hand, "I" and "you" are the subjects of the sentences, whereas "this park," "it," "the plants," and "the plants and the flowers and the trees" are the objects that receive the action of liking. 

 

While this difference in perception may confuse English speakers, it is useful to note that the English verb "to please" functions similarly to "gustar" in terms of the subject-object relationship. Therefore, it may be a good exercise to substitute this verb for "to like" when translating Spanish sentences with "gustar" or attempting to formulate new ones. Let's take a look at our previous example, this time translated with the verb "to please": 

 

Me gusta mucho este parque. A ti también te gusta ¿verdad? Sí, me gustan las plantas. Sí, a mí me gustan las plantas y las flores y los árboles. 

This park really pleases me. It also pleases you, right? Yes, the plants please me. Yes, the plants and the flowers and the trees please me. 

 

To reiterate this concept, let's take a look at some additional examples where the verb gustar has been translated as "to like" while providing their alternative translations with "to please":

 

1.

Me gustan mucho las chaquetas de piel.

I really like leather jackets.

Caption 32, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 14

 Play Caption

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: 

Me gustan mucho las chaquetas de piel

Leather jackets really please me. 

 

2.

Yo te quiero así y me gustas porque eres diferente

I love you like that, and I like you because you're different

Caption 12, Carlos Vives, Shakira - La Bicicleta

 Play Caption

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION:

Yo te quiero así y me gustas porque eres diferente 

I love you like that, and you please me because you're different

 

3. 

¿Te gusta trabajar aquí, te gusta? -No, no me gusta, no.

Do you like working here, do you like it? -No, I don't like it, no.

Caption 77, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 12

 Play Caption

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: 

¿Te gusta trabajar aquí, te gusta? -No, no me gusta, no. 

Does working here please you, does it please you? -No, it doesn't please me, no. 


Note that while the alternative translations are grammatically correct, their primary purpose here is to help us to understand how the Spanish verb "gustar" functions. As in everyday speech, it would be far less common to hear someone say "You please me" than "I like you," the translations with "to like" are preferable in most cases.

 

Now that we are familiar with the different manners in which the English and Spanish languages express the concept of "liking," it's time to learn how to conjugate the verb "gustar," which we'll cover in the next lesson. That's all for today, and don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions.

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