Spanish verbs like “Gustar” and passive voice

There are verbs like GUSTAR, IMPORTAR, ENCANTAR and others and they look like usual verbs. However, there is a trick with these verbs – these verbs have reflexive sense.

Let’s consider the verb GUSTAR – to like, or literally, it means “to be liked”.

In English we say: “I like it”, but in Spanish we literally say “it is pleased to me”, or – ME GUSTA. With verbs like this we have to use dative pronouns (lesson 8): ME, TE, LE, NOS, OS, LES.

These verb are conjugated like any other verbs: yo gusto, tú gustas, él gusta, nosotros gustamos, vosotros gustáis, ellos gustan. However, they are never used this way.

YO GUSTO doesn’t mean “I like”, it means “I am pleased to myself”. But ME GUSTA means “I like”, or literally “It is pleased to me”.

Look at more examples with GUSTAR:

TE GUSTA – you like (is pleased to you)

NOS GUSTA – we like (is pleased to us)

LE GUSTA – he/she likes (is pleased to he/she)

Nosotros te gustamos – you like us (we are pleased to you)

Usted le gusta – You like her/him (he/she is pleased to you)

¿Ella me gusta? – Does she like me? (am I pleased to her?)

Les gustan los melocotónes – They like peaches (peaches are pleased to them)

Also, in order to clarify a pronoun, one can use the construction: A + prepositional pronoun (lesson 8) before such verb:

A mí me gusta – I like

A tí te gusta – You like

A él le gusta – He likes

A nosotros nos gusta – We like

And so on.

The verbs like GUSTAR just should be memorized. There is not a rule on how to detect them. They are: Interesar – to be interested in, Faltar – to be lacking something, Aburrir – to bore, Agradar – to please, Fascinar – to fascinate, Encantar – to love, Importar – to be important to.

Examples

Le interesa la informática – He is interested in IT

¿Por qué a ustedes no les gusta bailar? – Why don’t you like to dance?

¿A dónde a ella le encanta viajar? – Whereto does she love to travel?

¡No me importa que ellos piensen eso de mí! – I don’t care (it is not important to me) what they think about me!

A los turistas les gustan los museos – The tourists like the museums

Passive voice

In English, we can say “one says, one does, one makes”, or “we are told, it is said, I am told” etc. In the Spanish language, we can say so with help of the pronoun SE.

And a verb accompanied with the pronoun SE will be conjugated as with the pronoun él/ella/Usted, or s with ellos/ellas/Ustedes in plural form.

Se habla – one says

Se puede – one can

Se permite – one permits

Las idiomas extranjeros se estudian mucho – The foreign languages are studied a lot

Examples

Se dice que no podemos entrar allí – One says that we can’t come in there

En esta biblioteca los libros se leen desde las ocho hasta las nieve de la tarde – In this library the books are read from eight o’clock until nine o’clock of the evening.

Los castillos de nuestro país se exploran mucho – The castles of our country are explored a lot

¿Qué se dijo en ese discurso? – What was said in that speech?

La cámara se usa a menudo – The camera is used often

El restaurante se cierra muy tarde – The restaurant is closed very late

¿Cómo se dice en ruso? – How it is said in Russian?

 

Exercises

Conjugate verbs of this type

  1. La torre en esta ciudad  muchos turistas (Gustar – to like) – Many tourists like the tower in this city
  2.  agua (FALTAR – to be lacking) – I lack the water
  3. Los verbos de segunda y tercera conjugación igual que en el pretérito imperfecto (CONJUGAR – to conjugate) – The verbs from 1st and 2nd conjugations are conjugated the same in the imperfect preterite.
  4. Yo voy a un banco y entonces hacer compras en una tienda (GUSTAR – to like) – I go to a bank and then I would like to do shopping in a store
  5. No los juegos de computadora, ni la televisión (INTERESAR – to be interested in) – They were interested neither in computer games nor in television
  6. A nosotros los conocimientos para la próxima clase (FALTAR – to be lacking) – We are lacking the knowledges for the next class
  7. estas palabras una y otra vez (REPETIR – to repeat) – One repeats these words again and again
  8. (GUSTAR – to like) – I like you
  9. Por lo visto, esta parte muy rápido (CAMBIAR – to change) – Apparently, one changes this part very quickly

Answers

a: le gusta, b: me falta, c: se conjugan, d: me gustaría, e: les interesan, f: nos faltan, g: se repiten, h: me gustas, i: se cambia.

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