How to say "something bores/annoys/saddens you"

To express a negative feeling about something or doing something, e.g. it annoys you, it bores you, it saddens you... we often use verbs that work the same way as the verbs "gustar" and "encantar". To revise how gustar/encantar work see links at the bottom.

Let's see how these negative verbs work:

Molestar (to bother)

The verb molestar is used when we want to say that something/doing something/someone bothers us. Here are some examples:

Me molesta el ruido de la calle.
The street noise bothers me.

Me molestan las moscas.
Flies bother me.

Me molesta llevar el bolso. Pesa mucho.
Carrying the bag bothers me. It is very heavy. [Lit: it weighs a lot.]

Me molesta tu hermana. 
Your sister is bothering me.

Notice how the person who is bothered is expressed with the pronoun at the beginning of each sentence; in all cases above it is "me". This is NOT the subject of the sentence; the subject of the sentence is WHAT/WHO bothers. If it is a single person/thing that bothers then you need the verb in the 3rd person singular: "molesta". Doing something is considered to be a singular thing. But if what bothers is plural, e.g. "las moscas", then you need the verb in the 3rd person plural: "molestan".

Here are the indirect object pronouns to use depending on who is bothered:

Personal        pronoun Spanish indirect object pronoun English pronoun
Yo me me
te you
Él/ella/usted le him/her/you
Nosotros/nosotras nos us
Vosotros/vosotras os you
Ellos/ellas/ustedes les them/you

 

Aburrir (to bore)

We use the verb aburrir in Spanish to express that something/doing something/someone bores you. Have a look at these examples:

¿Te aburre jugar a las cartas?
Does playing cards bore you?

Le aburren las conferencias.
Conferences bore him/her/you [formal].

Nos aburre el campo. Es demasiado tranquilo.
The countryside bores us. It is too quiet.

¿Te aburren tus padres?
Do your parents bore you?

Notice again how the verb is conjugated in the 3rd person singular (aburre) when the subjects are singular (el campo, jugar a las cartas) but it is conjugated in the 3rd person plural (aburren) when the subject is plural (las conferencias, tus padres). Who is bored is expressed with the different indirect object pronouns (te, le, nos). Be careful not to use the personal subject pronouns; this would be incorrect:

¿ aburre jugar a las cartas?

Fastidiar (to annoy/bother)

Fastidiar is another verb used in Spanish to express someone is annoyed/bothered about something/doing something/someone.

Here are some examples with fastidiar:

Me fastidia tu actitud.
Your attitude annoys me.

¿Os fastidia el ruido de la ciudad?
Does the noise in the city annoy you?

Le fastidia bailar con ese chico.
Dancing with that boy bothers her/him/you [formal].

Entristecer (to sadden)

Entristecer is used to express something/doing something/someone saddens you. It derives from the adjective "triste" (sad). Here are some examples:

Le entristece la historia de la película.
The story of the film saddens her/him/you [formal]

Me entristecen los perros abandonados.
Stray dogs sadden me.

¿Te entristece dejar el colegio?
Does leaving the school sadden you?

As you can see all the examples above follow the same order. This is the most common way to express it. It can also be turned around, though this is less common. 

The most common order:

Pronoun  +     verb     +  subject

(Me)       +  (molesta)  +  (el ruido)

Less common but also correct:

Subject      +  pronoun    + verb

(El ruido)   +     (me)       + (molesta)

Be careful with some "false friends" among these verbs. The meaning of "molestar" in Spanish is not the same as "to molest" in English, and the same goes for Spanish verb "disgustar" and the English "to disgust/to be disgusting" which is much stronger.

Other inverted verbs used to express negative feelings are for example:

  • Dar pena (to sadden)
  • Enloquecer (to drive mad)
  • Volver loco (to drive mad)
  • Disgustar (to dislike)
  • Repugnar (to find disgusting)

See also:

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Me molesta llevar el bolso. Pesa mucho.
Carrying the bag bothers me. It is very heavy. [Lit: it weighs a lot.]


Me fastidia tu actitud.
Your attitude annoys me.


Nos aburre el campo. Es demasiado tranquilo.
The countryside bores us. It is too quiet.


Me molestan las moscas.
Flies bother me.


¿Os fastidia el ruido de la ciudad?
Does the noise in the city annoy you?


Le aburren las conferencias.
Conferences bore him/her/you [formal].


¿Te aburren tus padres?
Do your parents bore you?


¿Te entristece dejar el colegio?
Does leaving the school sadden you?


¿Te aburre jugar a las cartas?
Does playing cards bore you?


Me molesta tu hermana. 
Your sister is bothering me.


Me entristecen los perros abandonados.
Stray dogs sadden me.


Me molesta el ruido de la calle.
The street noise bothers me.


Le fastidia bailar con ese chico.
Dancing with that boy bothers her/him/you [formal].


Le entristece la historia de la película.
The story of the film saddens her/him/you [formal]


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