Gustar-Type verb Construction

Spanish gustar type verbs

There are some verbs in Spanish that use the indirect object pronoun as a substitute of the subject that would appear in English translation.  The subject in an English sentence becomes the indirect object in Spanish. The most common verb is in the category that most of the books apply is “Gustar”, which many native English-speakers translate to “like” when it means to be pleasing in Spanish.

Let’s see an example:

I like the story

I: Subject

Like: Verb

The story: Direct Object

Let’s see now the English expression that would translate the Spanish version.

The story is pleasing to me

The story: Subject

is pleasing: Verb

To me: Indirect Object.

Do you see what I mean?… Let’s see it in Spanish

Me gusta el cuento

Literal translation: The story is pleasing to me

Actual translation in English: I like the story

Subject: Who or what is doing the verb? The story/ El cuento (is being liked, or esta siendo gustado)

To Whom the story is being liked? To me. Therefore ME is the Direct Object.

Remember that the subject always is related to the verb. For example, if you say Nos gusta la casa, the verb is refering to the casa, that is why is “gusta” and not “gustan”. Other examle is, “Nos gustan las casas”, again, the verb follows the subject, “nos gustan: is plural because the subject is plural “lascasas”.

Singular Subject

Plural Subject

Me gusta el trabajo Me gustan los trabajos
Te gusta el juego Te gustan los juegos
Le gusta la computadora Le gustan las computadoras
Nos gusta la ciudad Nos gustan las ciudades
Les gusta la cocina Les gustan las cocinas


These types of verbs always include a Indirect Object Pronoun.

If the sentence begins with an inderect object (IO), then the emphasis would be in the person. Let’s see an example:

Me agrada su sonrisa (I am pleased by your smile)

Verb: Agrada (Present of agradar)

Subject: What or Who is performing the action? The smile (su sonrisa)

Inderect Object: To Whom the smile is pleasing? To me. Then ME is the indirect Object.

Nos molestan los ruidos

Verb: Molestan. Present of Molestar (to bother)

Subject: Who or what is performing the verb? Los ruidos

To whom los ruidos are bothering? To us. Therefor Nos is the indirect Object

If you want to emphasize that “to us” the noise is bothering….. you can express it in Spanish like this:

A nosotros nos molestan los ruidos.

Although the word “nos” is clear that is “to us”, in Spanish you can include it in order to emphasize that is TO US that the NOISE is bothering. In order to express an emotion.

A nosotros nos agrada el verano

We are expressing a feeling. “To us” the summer is pleasing.

Placement of the “a” and the pronoun

When the indirect object falls at the end of the sentence, the prepositional phrase such as “a mí” or “a nosotros” is located after the verb instead of in front of the indirect object pronoun.


La política te interesa a ti

Verb: interesa (Present of interesar, (to interest))

Subject: La política

To Whom politics are interesting? To you. Te is the indirect object, and a ti is the emphasis that TO YOU politics are interesting.

Politics are interesting for you. Are they? This sentence is an example in English when do you want to express certainty that the politics are interesting for you. In English you do not have exact translation of “a ti” again. This is why I wanted to give a similar expression, where you repeat to indirect objects. “A ti” and its pronoun TE


If the sentence finishes with an indirect object, the emphasis would be placed on the subject and not in the person.

Let’s see some examples:

Los días soleados me gustan (the sunny days are pleasing to me)

Verb: gustan. Present of gustar.

Subject: Los días soleados (sunny days)

To Whom the sunny days are pleasing? To me. Then ME is the inderct object, that goes in the end

La tecnología le atrae

Verb: Atrae. Present of atraer (to attract, to appeal to someone)

Subject: La tecnología

To Whom the technology is appealing? LE. Then le is the indirect object that could be referring to him, her (a el, a ella)

Similar verbs like the Type-gustar construction

Common Verbs like Gustar

aburrir to bore faltar to be lacking
agradar to please fascinar to fascinate
alegrar to gladden fastidiar to annoy
apasionar to love gustar to please
apetecer to feel like hacer falta to be missed
atraer to attract importar to matter
bastar to be enough interesar to interest
caber to fit, to fill molestar to bother
convenir to be better for parecer to appear to be
corresponder to be responsible for picar to itch
costar to cost preocupar to worry
disgustar to disgust quedar to remain
doler to hurt repugnar to disgust
encantar to delight sobrar to be left over
extrañar to surprise tocar to be responsible for

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