Exploring the 'Gustar' Conjugation Chart in Spanish: A Detailed Guide

May 19th, 2023 - Vera

In Spanish, the verb ‘gustar’ occupies an important and unique place. Translated as ‘to like’ in English, it doesn’t behave like other verbs. The conjugation of ‘gustar’ is more nuanced due to its reflexive nature, which can lead to some confusion for Spanish learners. This comprehensive guide is designed to delve into the ‘gustar’ conjugation chart, taking you through its different tenses and usage.

Understanding ‘Gustar’ and Its Usage

Before we proceed to the conjugation, it’s essential to understand how ‘gustar’ works. Unlike most verbs, the subject of ‘gustar’ is the thing being liked, while the person who likes it is indicated indirectly. This is why ‘gustar’ is often translated as ‘to be pleasing to’.

For example, the phrase “Me gusta el libro” translates directly to “The book is pleasing to me”, although in English we would usually say, “I like the book”.

Given this unique characteristic, ‘gustar’ primarily uses two conjugations: ‘gusta’ for singular nouns and ‘gustan’ for plural nouns, regardless of who is doing the liking.

Present Tense Conjugation of ‘Gustar’

For simplicity, we’ll use “the book” (el libro) and “the books” (los libros) as the objects in the following conjugations:

Person Spanish (singular) Spanish (plural)
I like A mí me gusta el libro A mí me gustan los libros
You (informal) like A ti te gusta el libro A ti te gustan los libros
He/She/It likes/You (formal) like A él/ella/usted le gusta el libro A él/ella/usted le gustan los libros
We like A nosotros/nosotras nos gusta el libro A nosotros/nosotras nos gustan los libros
You (plural, informal) like A vosotros/vosotras os gusta el libro A vosotros/vosotras os gustan los libros
They like/You (plural, formal) like A ellos/ellas/ustedes les gusta el libro A ellos/ellas/ustedes les gustan los libros

Note: The “A mí”, “A ti”, etc., are used for emphasis or clarity, but are often omitted because the indirect object pronoun (me, te, le, nos, os, les) already indicates who likes the object.

‘Gustar’ in the Past Tenses: Preterite and Imperfect

The past tenses of ‘gustar’ follow the same structure as the present tense, with ‘gustó’ used for singular nouns and ‘gustaron’ for plural nouns in the preterite, and ‘gustaba’ for singular and plural nouns in the imperfect.


Person Spanish (singular) Spanish (plural)
I liked A mí me gustó el libro A mí me gustaron los libros

And similarly for the other persons (you, he/she/it, we, you plural, they).


Person Spanish (singular or plural)
I liked A mí me gustaba el libro/los libros

And similarly for the other persons.

‘Gustar’ in the Future and Conditional Tenses

Future and conditional tenses of

‘gustar’ again follow the same structure, using ‘gustará’ for singular nouns and ‘gustarán’ for plural nouns in the future, and ‘gustaría’ for singular and plural nouns in the conditional.


Person Spanish (singular) Spanish (plural)
I will like A mí me gustará el libro A mí me gustarán los libros

And similarly for the other persons.


Person Spanish (singular or plural)
I would like A mí me gustaría el libro/los libros

And similarly for the other persons.

Expressions and Common Phrases Using ‘Gustar’

‘Gustar’ is frequently used in many expressions and common phrases. Here are a few examples:

  1. ¿Te gusta el arte?: Do you like art?
  2. A él le gustaría viajar a España: He would like to travel to Spain.
  3. Nos gustó la película: We liked the movie.
  4. A ellas no les gusta la música alta: They don’t like loud music.

In conclusion, the conjugation of ‘gustar’ differs considerably from other Spanish verbs due to its reflexive construction. It’s crucial to remember that the verb conjugates according to the object being liked, not the person who likes it. Understanding this peculiarity and mastering the use of ‘gustar’ will significantly enhance your Spanish fluency and comprehension. Happy learning!

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