How to Use Verbs Like Gustar [+ 29 New Verbs & Phrases]
Verbs like gustar in Spanish may seem complicated and confusing, but I can promise you there’s an easy way to trick your brain into using this verb structure without errors!
Change How You Think
Language has a way of exposing our most basic assumptions about reality. When it comes to verbs like gustar, you’ll notice a striking difference between the way native English and Spanish speakers interact with things in their world.
For example, in English:
“I like Spanish class.”
In this sentence, I am the one doing the liking. It is “I” who is the subject, the doer, and the one performing the action. Meanwhile the “Spanish class” is the direct object; it is receiving my “like.”
However, in Spanish:
Me gusta la clase de español.
In this sentence, I am the one receiving the pleasing experience of the Spanish class. As the receiver, I am now the indirect object; not the subject.
It is in fact the Spanish class that is the subject, the doer, and the one performing the action—translating roughly to “The Spanish class is pleasing to me.”
Once you’re done reading this article, you’ll have no problem using verbs like gustar. Download this practice worksheet to test your new skills and see for yourself!
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Subjects and Objects: English vs Spanish
Let’s see it explained in another way:
I like Spanish class.
Direct object: Spanish class
Indirect object: None
Me gusta la clase de español.
Subject: la clase de español
Direct object: None
Indirect object: me
(Scan this quick refresher on the indirect object pronouns in Spanish.)
Quick Grammar Lesson on Verbs Like Gustar
If you’re not interested in the grammar lesson and just want to see the list of 29 verbs like gustar, click here.
As a Spanish learner, you’re no stranger to the common phrase me gusta, but you may feel slightly unsure when you see me gustan (and no doubt you stop to wonder when you see te gusto, but we’ll get to that later).
So, let’s break it down.
Me Gusta and Me Gustan
The most common structure of verbs like gustar uses the verb in its third person form, whether singular or plural.
Singular: me gusta la bebida (I like the [one] drink.)
Plural: me gustan las bebidas (I like the drinks.)
What Does ‘Me Gusta’ Mean?
As I mentioned, when you see the phrase me gusta, you are actually seeing “___ pleases me.”
The subject is not directly visible in this stand-alone phrase and generally translates to “I like it.”
I like it.
Here are some examples that do have a clear subject:
Me gusta el logo de la empresa.
I like the company’s logo.
(Literal: The company’s logo pleases me.)
Me gusta tu forma de ser.
I like the way you are (your personality).
(Literal: Your personality pleases me.)
Me gusta eso.
I like that.
(Literal: That pleases me.)
What Does ‘Me Gustan’ Mean?
Now, think about it—what are you actually seeing when you read the phrase me gustan?
Me gustan las pinturas en tu casa.
Did you say, “they please me”? If you did, you’re right!
The sentence above literally means “The paintings in your house please me,” and we translate it to “I like the paintings in your house.”
Here are more examples:
Me gustan los perros pequeños.
I like little dogs.
(Literal: Little dogs please me.)
Me gustan sus nuevas canciones.
I like his new songs.
(Literal: His new songs please me.)
Other Conjugations for Gustar
As we’ve seen, me gusta and me gustan are the most common sentence structures for verbs like gustar, but as your Spanish skills grow, you’ll want to use these verbs in a variety of ways.
If you are still in the process of mastering the third-person conjugations of gustar that we covered above, then I highly recommend you stick to that before moving on to this next lesson!
But, if you’re ready to move forward, let’s do it.
What do you think it means if I say: me gustas.
Does it mean “I like you” or “You like me”?
Remember our original translation tool: “____ please(s) me.”
In this case, we need to use the conjugation of the verb to figure out what the subject is.
Since it’s gustas, we know the subject is tú.
In other words:
Tú me gustas.
(Literal: You please me.)
I like you.
Similarly, let’s look at: te gusto.
We can see the verb gusto means that yo te gusto, or “I please you.” In other words, “you like me”!
Looks like you’ve got this one down. Now, let’s cover more verbs like gustar.
Verbs Like Gustar: Hacer Falta
Before we jump into the long list of verbs like gustar below, let me introduce one to you here: hacer falta.
This means “to miss” or “to need.”
Similar to gustar, hacer is conjugated exactly the same way with falta always following it.
Me hace falta mi primo.
I miss my cousin.
Me hacen falta los ingredientes.
I need the ingredients.
What does me haces falta mean?
If haces falta is the verb, we know that tú is the subject.
Tú me haces falta.
I miss you.
Hacer falta is a little harder to translate in a way that helps you quickly understand its meaning, but it is a good exercise in understanding indirect objects—which we will explore now.
Understanding the Use of Indirect Objects with Verbs Like Gustar
Indirect objects in English require that a direct object exists, but Spanish does not have this requirement.
The indirect object answers the question “to whom?” or “for whom?”, while the direct object answers the question “what?” or “who?”
For example, in English, you have a sentence like:
She sends me letters.
And we break it down into…
She = subject
Sends = verb
Me = indirect object
Letters = direct object
What does she send? She sends letters. (direct object)
To whom does she send letters? She sends letters to me. (indirect object)
With verbs like gustar in Spanish, the performing action is happening to me, to you, or to someone.
A + Personal Pronoun
In the introductory lesson above, we translated me gusta as “It pleases me,” when in reality it is much closer to “It is pleasing to me” (which is why me is an indirect object).
This is why you can add a mí (or “a + personal pronoun”) to emphasize the meaning:
Eso me gusta a mí.
I like that.
No te gusta a ti, pero a mí sí.
You don’t like it, but I do.
Similarly, while me hace falta means, “I miss it” or “I need it,” it translates more closely to “It is lacking from me” (which we would obviously never say in English!).
Me hace falta.
I need it.
Me hace falta a mí.
I need it.
When you’re confronted with the sentence le hace falta, you suddenly realize how ambiguous this can get!
How do others know who you’re talking about when you say le hace falta?
Le hace falta a él.
He needs it.
Le hace falta a ella.
She needs it.
Le hace falta a usted.
You need it.
By adding a + pronoun, you use a prepositional phrase that specifically refers back to the indirect object.
Here are your other options:
|Indirect Object Pronoun||Personal Pronoun||English|
|me||a mí||to me / for me|
|te||a ti||to you / for you|
|le||a usted||to you / for you (formal)|
|le||a él||to him / for him|
|le||a ella||to her / for her|
|nos||a nosotros||to us / for us|
|les||a ustedes||to you all / for you all|
|les||a ellos||to them / for them|
|les||a ellas||to them / for them|
12 Example Sentences
Let’s explore some example sentences with two verbs we know well now: gustar and hacer falta. As you’ll see, the prepositional phrase a + pronoun can go at the beginning or end of the sentence.
Me gusta mucho el muchacho.
I like the boy a lot.
Le gusto mucho a él.
He likes me a lot.
¡Ustedes me hacen falta!
I miss you all!
Les hago falta a ustedes, ¿verdad?
You all miss me, don’t you?
A usted no le gusta estar solo.
You (formal) don’t like to be alone.
No le gusta mi chaqueta a ella.
She doesn’t like my jacket.
A ti no te hago falta.
You don’t need me.
A ella no le hago falta.
She doesn’t need me.
Él no le hace falta a ella.
She doesn’t need him.
Additionally, you can be even more specific by using a + noun, instead of the personal pronouns:
Le gusto mucho al muchacho.
The boy likes me a lot.
Les hago falta a los maestros, ¿verdad?
The teachers miss me, don’t they?
A la modelo no le gusta la chaqueta.
The model doesn’t like the jacket.
21 Other Verbs Like Gustar
Now that you’ve mastered how to conjugate and use verbs like gustar, it’s time to build your vocabulary with some more verbs that react similarly.
This is hardly an exhaustive list, but it’s a great starting point for you to expand your expressive Spanish skills.
Here they are!
|aburrir||to bore / get tired of|
|alegrar||to cheer up / make happy|
|apetecer||to feel like / crave|
|asustar||to frighten / scare|
|convenir (e:ie)||to be a good idea / suit / be convenient|
|costar (o:ue)||to cost / be hard|
|divertir (e:ie)||to amuse / entertain|
|doler (o:ue)||to hurt / ache|
|faltar||to be missing / be absent|
|fascinar||to fascinate / captivate|
|favorecer||to favor / encourage|
|importar||to matter / mind / care|
|interesar||to interest / concern|
|molestar||to bother / annoy / upset|
|parecer||to seem / look like|
|picar||to sting / bite / itch / chop|
|preocupar||to worry / be concerned|
|quedar||to be left / to stay|
|sobrar||to be left over / not be needed|
Example Sentences for Verbs like Gustar
Me aburren las películas de horror.
Horror movies bore me.
Le agradas mucho a mi abuela.
My grandma really likes you. (You please my grandma.)
Me alegra la noticia de tu boda.
The news of your wedding makes me happy.
¿Por qué siempre nos apetece pizza?
Why are we always craving pizza?
Los ruidos fuertes le asustan a mi perro.
Loud noises scare my dog.
¿Te conviene ir a la reunión?
Is it convenient for you to go to the meeting?
Te cuesta hablar español.
It’s hard for you to speak Spanish.
Les divierte la conversación.
The conversation amuses them.
¡Cómo me duele la muerte de mi bisabuelo!
The death of my great-grandfather hurts me!
Les encantan las canciones románticas a mis tías.
My aunts love romantic songs.
Le falta un número al total.
The total is missing a number.
Nos fascina su colección de bichos.
His bug collection fascinates us.
Le favorecen los maestros porque él siempre hace caso.
Teachers favor him because he always listens.
¡No me importa lo que tú me digas!
I don’t care about whatever you say to me!
Le interesa más a ella la idea de ganar dinero.
She is more interested in the idea of making money.
Nos molestan mucho los fuegos pirotécnicos.
Fireworks really bother us.
Me parece que estás cansada.
It looks to me like you’re tired.
¡Le están picando las abejas!
The bees are stinging her!
A él le preocupa la falta de dinero de su negocio.
His company’s lack of money worries him.
La blusa me queda pequeña.
The shirt is too small for me. (The shirt fits me small.)
Le sobra lo que a ti te falta.
He has plenty of what you lack.
8 More Verb Phrases Like Hacer Falta
As you continue to polish your skills with verbs like gustar, you’ll start craving the use of common verb phrases that native Spanish speakers use.
To be clear, verb phrases contain more than one word and as a unit they act with new meaning (like hacer falta).
For example, the verb caer means “to fall,” but the verb phrase caer bien means “to like” or “to agree with.”
Now let’s look at more.
1. Volver loco – to go mad, to drive crazy
Me vuelve loco verte con él.
It drives me crazy to see you with him.
2. Caer bien – to like, to agree with
A ella le cae bien la nueva dieta.
The new diet agrees with her.
3. Caer mal – to rub the wrong way
Esa muchacha me cae mal.
The girl rubs me the wrong way.
4. Quedar bien – to make a good impression, to look good
¡Qué bien te queda tu camisa!
Your shirt fits you so well!
5. Quedar mal – to make a bad impression, to fit badly
Cuando lo conocí, me quedó mal.
When I met him, he made a bad first impression.
6. Dar asco – to make feel sick, to disgust
Los hongos me dan asco.
Mushrooms make me sick.
7. Dar miedo – to scare
Los payasos nos dan miedo.
Clowns scare us.
8. Hacer gracia – to be funny, to amuse
No le va hacer gracia verte por aquí.
It’s not going to amuse him to see you around here.
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