2.9 'I like that' and 'I don't like that' in Spanish
It’s either good or bad - in spanish
Es bueno – It’s good
Es muy bueno – It’s very good
Es excelente – It’s excellent
Es malo – It’s bad
No es bueno – It’s not good
No es muy bueno – It’s not very good
Es pésimo – It is terrible
No vale la pena – It’s not worth it
Es bastante malo – It’s quite bad
I like that, It pleases me - in spanish
Saying that you like something in Spanish is a bit tricky. The verb ‘gustar’ is equivalent to the English verb ‘to like’. Literally, it means ‘to be pleasing to someone’ or ‘to give someone pleasure’.
In Spanish, you don’t say 'I like something' but you say ‘That is pleasing to me’. The verb ‘gustar’ is mainly used in 2 forms in the present tense. The first form is ‘gusta’ (to like something/something is pleasing to me) or ‘gustan’ (to like more than one thing/more than one thing is pleasing to me).
Depending on who the object is pleasing to, you use:
- ‘me’ - to me
- ‘te’ - to you, familiar
- ‘le’ - to you, formal or to him or her, and
- ‘les’ - to you, plural or to them
Let’s take a look at a few examples:
Eso me gusta – I like that (lit. That pleases me)
¿Eso te gusta? – Do you like that? (lit. Does that please you?)
¿Eso le gusta? – Do you (formal)/Does he or she like that? (lit. Does that please, him or her?)
¿Eso les gusta? – Does that please you (plural)/them? (lit. Does that please you/them?)
Notice how the ‘le’ or the ‘les’ is a bit generic. You have to be aware of the context to know whether ‘Eso le gusta’ means ‘you (formal) like that’, ‘he likes that’ or ‘she likes that’. If you want to really specify what you mean you can use the form of the sentence as follows, which is not commonly used in conversational Spanish:
Eso me gusta a mí – I like that
Eso te gusta a ti – You (familiar) like that
Eso le gusta a él – He likes that
Eso le gusta a ella – She likes that
Eso le gusta a usted – You (formal) like that
Eso les gusta a ellos – They like that
Eso les gusta a ellas – They like that
The full form is not commonly used in spoken Spanish but it can be used if you need to specify exactly who you are referring to. You could almost always skip the ‘a mí’ and the ‘a tí’ because with ‘me’ and ‘te’ it is quite obvious who you are referring to.
Let’s take a look at some examples of liking more than one thing:
Los libros me gustan (a mí) - I like the books
¿Las casas te gustan (a ti)? – Do you (familiar) like the houses?
¿Las películas le gustan (a usted)? – Do you (formal) like the films?
¿Los documentales le gustan (a él/ella)? – Does he/she like the documentaries?
¿Las sillas les gustan (a ustedes)? – Do you (plural) like the chairs?
¿Los carros les gustan (a ellos/ellas)? – Do they like the cars?
There are actually other acceptable ways of structuring the above sentences. The word order in this case isn’t has rigid as it is in English. For example: ‘Los libros me gustan a mí’, ‘A mí me gustan los libros’, ‘Me gustan los libros’ are all acceptable. Pick the one you feel most comfortable with but remember that the other 2 forms as acceptable as well.
I don't like that, It doesn't please me - in spanish
Here are a few examples of how to express that you don’t like something in Spanish:
No me gusta la comida/
La comida no me gusta/
La comida no me gusta a mí
– I don’t like the food
No me gustan los carros/
Los carros no me gustan/
Los carros no me gustan a mí
– I don’t like the cars