Using gustar + verb to say like [doing something]

In Spanish, to express like or dislike [to do/doing something] we use the verb gustar. It works differently to the way it is expressed in English.

Have a look and listen to this example:

Me gusta montar en bici.
I like to ride a bike.

Notice the construction in English:

Subject (I) + verb (like) + what is liked (riding a bike)

In Spanish however the order is different.
If we translate it literally we would say: Riding a bike pleases me,  with riding a bike being the subject of the sentence.

We always use the singular form of verb gustar when followed by actions!

For example, this is incorrect: Me gustan bailar y cantar.

If you want to ask someone whether s/he likes doing something, just remember to add the question marks and change the intonation.
Have a look and listen to this example:

¿Te gusta viajar por Europa?
Do you like travelling around Europe?

The answer can be positive or negative:

, me gusta viajar por Europa.
Yes, I like travelling around Europe.

No, no me gusta viajar por Europa.
No, I don't like travelling around Europe.

Notice how on the negative answer we have added a no at the beginning of the sentence.

Here are other negative answers as examples:

No, no me gusta comer chocolate.
No, I don't like eating chocolate.

No, no te gusta beber vinos españoles.
No, you don't like to drink Spanish wines.

No, no me gusta bailar.
No, I don't like to dance.

Important note:

A common error for English speakers is to use a gerund form (-ing) after gustar. Remember that in Spanish we use the infinitive (-ar/-er/-ir)

Me gusta bailando
Me gusta bailar
I like dancing.

 See also Using gustar to say you like something

 

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

No, no me gusta comer chocolate.
No, I don't like eating chocolate.


No, no me gusta viajar por Europa.
No, I don't like travelling around Europe.


¿Te gusta viajar por Europa?
Do you like travelling around Europe?


No, no te gusta beber vinos españoles.
No, you don't like to drink Spanish wines.


No, no me gusta bailar.
No, I don't like to dance.


Me gusta montar en bici.
I like to ride a bike.


, me gusta viajar por Europa.
Yes, I like travelling around Europe.


Q&A Forum 4 questions, 12 answers

Me gusta bailar

Why can that not translate as "I like to dance" or must the "literal" option of "dancing is liked by me" then become "I like dancing".

Asked 3 months ago
InmaKwiziq language super star

Hola Garry

We've used both translations in the lesson, using -ing and using the infinitive with "to". I am not quite sure what you mean.

Inma

It had been stated that the transitive form of the verb follows "gustar": me gustar bailar, to dance is liked  by me after which I assume "interpretation" is allowed to form I like dancing or I like to dance.?

Me gusta bailar

Why can that not translate as "I like to dance" or must the "literal" option of "dancing is liked by me" then become "I like dancing".

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a ti TE gusta, no?

a ti TE gusta, NO? 

Asked 3 months ago
InmaKwiziq language super star

Hola Garry

Are you referring to the use of the extra indirect object with preposition "a"?

For that A1 lesson we haven't included those, but in this more advance lesson we explain you can use both. 

Repetition of indirect object pronouns with verbs like gustar

Saludos

Inma

a ti TE gusta, no?

a ti TE gusta, NO? 

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Continuing with the previous question-

The lesson says:

We always use the singular form of verb gustar when followed by actions!

For example: Me gustan bailar y cantar.

---

I think I understand the answer, but the example seems confusing since in this case gustar is being used with multiple verbs

Asked 5 months ago
InmaKwiziq language super star

Hola Doug

What we mean with that note is that when "gustar" is followed by more than one action (by action we mean a verb in the infinitive form, e.g bailar, cantar, cocinar, i.e an activity) we keep the singular form of gustar (gusta) despite having more than one element in the subject. Therefore: "Me gusta cocinar y planchar", "Me gusta salir de copas y bailar en la discoteca". 

Hope this clarified it.

Inma

That's what I thought, but the example uses a plural verb-

We always use the singular form of verb gustar when followed by actions!

For example: Me gustan bailar y cantar.

So for clarification- shouldn't the example be "Me gusta bailar y cantar?

Thanks

InmaKwiziq language super star

Hi Doug

I think you didn't realise that the "n" from "gustan" in that example is crossed out, to show you how it would be incorrect.

Could that be why you were confused?

Inma

That certainly would explain it :)

Thanks!

Is there a "reason" why when there are multiple "likes" the verb maintains the singular form?

Can there never be a "gustamos" or a "gustan"?

InmaKwiziq language super star

As far as I know there is no specific reason. It is the way it's done in Spanish. I guess we consider it like 2 individual/singular things, 1 is bailar and 2 is cantar.

Verb gustar when talking about liking things or to do things is only used in two forms: gusta and gustan, because grammatically, the subject of the sentence is the thing that you like:

"Dancing pleases me." (Me gusta bailar)

Dancing = subject (bailar)

pleases = verb (gusta)

me = Indirect object (me)

"I like big cars" (Me gustan los coches grandes.)

Big cars = subject (los coches grandes)

please = verb (gustan)

me = Indirect object (me)

Hope this helps

Inma

Continuing with the previous question-

The lesson says:

We always use the singular form of verb gustar when followed by actions!

For example: Me gustan bailar y cantar.

---

I think I understand the answer, but the example seems confusing since in this case gustar is being used with multiple verbs

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Gusta vs Gustan

If gustar is followed by a verb, you always use gusta, right? Example: Me gusta nadar con los delfines. VS Me gustan los delfines. 

Am I understanding that correctly? 

Asked 8 months ago
InmaKwiziq language super star

Yes Sara,  "Me gusta nadar." (not "Me gustan nadar.")

:))

Thank you!

Gusta vs Gustan

If gustar is followed by a verb, you always use gusta, right? Example: Me gusta nadar con los delfines. VS Me gustan los delfines. 

Am I understanding that correctly? 

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