Forum Rocket Spanish Spanish - Grammar need an explanation of "gustar"

need an explanation of "gustar"

Pixiegirl32

Pixiegirl32

Ok, so I am soooo lost with some uses of "gustar". For instance: Why do you have to say "A mi" in front of the sentence "I like cats" = A mi me gustan los gatos. Why can you not just say: Me gustan los gatos. Also, why do you not use "gustamos" in the sentence: We like shirts = "A nosotros nos gusta las camisas". I have the same question as above interms of why "A Nosotros" is used. The extra words confuse me. Can anyone explain this to me, please?
nohablo

nohablo

Hola Mela. We're going to have to stop meeting like this :D . I think I can shed some light on "gustar." Even though we translate "me gustan los gatos" as "I like cats," it might be more useful to think of the sentence more literally: to me are pleasing the cats (or, the cats are pleasing to me--hence, I like cats). "Gustar" really means "to please," and the subject is not the pronoun that precedes the verb (me, te, nos, etc.) but rather what comes after the verb (in this case, los gatos). And the verb here is "gustan" rather than "gusta" because it has to agree with the subject, which is "los gatos" (plural). As for a mí, often that's optional. It's added for emphasis or clarity or just out of habit, but it's often not necessary. It's just as correct to say "Me gustan los gatos." In the second sentence, "A nosotros nos gusta las camisas," I think there's an error. It should say "A nosotros nos _gustan_ las camisas." Here, the subject is "las camisas" (the shirts). The shirts are pleasing to us (i.e., we like the shirts). Thus, the verb is "gustan," to agree with "las camisas." (If you used "gustamos," the sentence would make no sense: to us we are pleasing the shirts :roll: ) Again, "a nosotros" is optional. By the way, if the second sentence had said "A nosotros nos gusta la camisa," it would have been OK. If you change "shirts" to "shirt," then you need a singular verb (gusta). I might note that while "gustar" is the best known of the verbs that work this way, there are others as well, so it's worth spending some time to understand how "gustar" works. You'll need the same principle for encantar (to like very much), faltar (to be missing, lack), importar (to matter), interesar (to be interested in), parecer (to seem), and others. One more thing--overwhelmingly, "gustar" is used in the third person singular (gusta) and plural (gustan). However, occasionally you'll hear it in the first or second person. There's a well-known song by Manu Chau called "Me gustas tu" (you are pleasing to me--in other words, I like you). You can find it on YouTube: __http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzgjiPBCsss__ I hope this helps.
dthf90210

dthf90210

Great song! I got to brush up on my Spanish AND French. I don't know if you are a teacher, but you should be. You are good at explaining things, NH.
Pixiegirl32

Pixiegirl32

Yes, Nohablo, we seem to be meeting on the most dificult terms these days, but know that I am finding the information you provide very helpful. :lol: Well, while I am still confused about the many usages of gustar, I do understand your explanation. I have just realize that I cannot look at Spanish "literally" like the way I would see it in English. I will definitely look to master this so that I canunderstand the other words that have similar usage. On another note, I feel very proud to share something with you. Today, I have finally mastered telling time. I was having some difficulty with that too, but :idea: I bought an activity book for middle and high school students to help supplement the areas I am working on and I grasped it very well after doing the worksheets on telling time. While it did not seem much to someone I told, I figured I would share it would someone who can understand the struggle of learning another language. I am so proud of me and few very encouraged that I will grasp other areas I am not good at!! :D But thanks again so much for responding. You are such a great help!!
Carol-S

Carol-S

While on the subject of "gustar," I have questions about politeness. Is it better, when ordering food or drink, to say "Me gustaria..." or is it okay to say "Quiero un..."? In addition to that, I am very confused when "we" are ordering something, what is the polite way to say "We would like...(food or drink item)"?
sjlkh

sjlkh

When ordering food or drink for example it would probably be better to say "Me gustaria....." since this is saying "I would like....". If you say "Quiero un....", you are saying "I want a...." which I think you would agree is a little less polite. To say we would like, you would say "Nos gustaria....". I hope this helps.

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