“Gustar” is a funny verb. When we first learn it, we equate “me gusta” via “I like” – “me gusta la pizza” indicates “I favor pizza”. Simple enough. However, this verb, and also many kind of others prefer it, are profoundly different to our English equivalents. They are well-known as “reverse construction verbs”.


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What are reverse construction verbs?

An even more beneficial method to approach “me gusta” is to think of our English verb “disgust”. The building and construction of this verb means that somepoint disgusts me. With our verb “like”, we favor somepoint, however via “disgust” this is reversed (for this reason “reverse building and construction verbs”). The topic (the agent which is “doing” the verb) is reversed:



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“Gustar” works in a similar way to “disgust”. In the sentence “Me gustan las naranjas” (“I like oranges”), Spanish speakers think of the ovarieties being the agent, and also leading to my pleacertain. The oarrays are doing the activity to me, quite than my liking the oarrays. This is the basic principle behind reverse building verbs, and once you can understand also this, you’ll be able to nail the totality set of them!

Another approach you have the right to take is to interpret “gustar” as “please” (as in, “it pleases me”). Using this translation, then, “me gustan las naranjas” can likewise be analyzed as “oranges please me”. Although this sounds prefer fairly a weird translation (and also it’s certainly not the “correct” one), it does help us to understand also the building of the verb.

While we may understand also the idea of reverse building verbs, Spanish adds an additional layer of obstacle in that, when we´ve determined what or who the agent is, we have to conjugate the verb to match that agent. With “I prefer oranges”, the agent in Spanish is “oranges” (remember: oranges please me). That suggests we must conjugate “gustar” for “oranges”, rather than “me”, or “I”. “Naranjas” is plural and third perboy, definition we use the “-an” ending:

“Me gustan las naranjas”

Try it via these sentences, translating from English to Spanish:

I prefer Spain (or, Spain pleases me)He likes footsphere (or, footsphere pleases him)They like me (or, I please them)I favor you (or, you please me)


Translations at the end of this article!


Other reverse construction verbs

While “gustar” is most likely the first verb you’ll come across of this type, tright here is a large variety of various other verbs which additionally follow the same structure. We won’t carry out a complete list, yet right here are some of the a lot of important ones that you absolutely must add to your Spanish toolbox:

Aburrir: To boreBastar: To have actually enoughCaer bien: To look good on/gain on via (literally “loss well”)Costar: To expense (and figuratively, to be difficult)Doler: To hurtEncantar: To delightFaltar: To lack/needImportar: To matter/careParecer: To appearQuedar: To remain/have left


Reverse construction verbs are a very “Spanish” point. While it deserve to take a small while to acquire your head approximately them, it’s a sure-fire method to make your Spanish sound that little little bit more aboriginal, and also a little much less prefer analyzed English.


I favor Spain (or, Spain pleases me)Me gusta EspañaHe likes footsphere (or, footsphere pleases him)Le gusta el fútbolThey favor me (or, I please them)Les gusto yoI prefer you (or, you please me)Me gustas tú