100+ Spanish Verbs Like Gustar [Conjugation and Pronunciation Guide]
When I taught at a Spanish language immersion camp, I tried to make small talk with an Argentinean man by saying, “Me gustan los mosquitos.”
I was greeted with a wry grin: I ended up saying “I like mosquitoes,” instead of “mosquitoes like me” (les gusto a los mosquitos).
Luckily, I’ve learned a lot about this verb, gustar, since then.
Read on to learn more about gustar and 100+ other verbs that work in a similar way—and avoid making the same mistake as me!
- How to Use the Verb Gustar
- The Most Important Spanish Verbs Like Gustar
- 1. Encantar (to love something)
- 2. Costar (to cost)
- 3. Molestar (to be a bother)
- 4. Quedar (remain)
- 5. Sobrar (to be left over)
- 6. Importar (to be important to)
- 7. Aburrir (to bore)
- 8. Preocupar (to worry)
- 9. Faltar (to be lacking something)
- 10. Atraer (to attract)
- 11. Convenir (to be in someone’s interest)
- 12. Parecer (to appear to be)
- 13. Doler (o:ue) (to be painful)
- 14. Picar (to itch)
- Important Phrases with These Tricky Verbs
- 100+ More Spanish Verbs Like Gustar
- How to Practice Verbs Like Gustar
How to Use the Verb Gustar
Let’s begin with the most commonly used and confused verb of them all: gustar . Here are the present tense conjugations of gustar with their indirect object pronouns:
|You all like
|They like / You all like
Notice a pattern? The indirect object pronouns describe who’s doing the liking, but the verb form changes based on that.
You can think of the Spanish “to like” more as “to be pleasing” or “to please.” Here’s an example:
Me gustan los libros. (I like books.)
The books please me.
The literal translation is like “me they please the books.”
The way that gustar is structured in Spanish just makes a lot more sense when you look at it in terms of “to be pleasing,” doesn’t it?
So instead of following the form:
person who likes + verb + object liked
It follows this form:
indirect object pronoun (person who likes) + verb + object liked
The big difference is that the verb gustar changes not based upon who is doing the liking, but rather what it is that’s being liked, in this case books. Because “books” is plural, gustar takes on the third person plural.
You may have also noticed that in Spanish the article is necessary (los libros instead of just libros here).
If it’s of any comfort to know, we aren’t the only ones to butcher this verb. When Spanish speakers try to directly translate me gustan los libros into English they run into some serious issues as well. When a student once asked me “Do the books like you?” in English class, and as charming as that idea may sound—I do hope they like me!—the sentence structure wasn’t correct.
Other Conjugation Rules
Gustar also has different forms. What you like might be an object—but it can also be a human being.
Now we aren’t only working with the gusta and gustan forms. Gusto (first person singular), gustas (second person singular) and gustáis (third person plural) are added to the list:
Here’s an imaginary scenario: My best guy friend, Jaime, likes me. There’s this other guy, Enrique, that I like, but he happens to like my best friend Elena. What would this look like in Spanish? Probably a little bit like a telenovela (soap opera)!
Me: A Jaime le gusto (Jaime likes me) pero a mí me gustas tú (but I like you) y Elena me ha dicho que a ti te gusta ella (and Elena has told me that you like her).
Enrique: A mí me gustáis las dos pero solo como amigas (I like both of you guys but only as friends).
The same rules still apply here. The conjugation of the verb gustar is still dictated by the object of affection, but the problem is that your mind will want to connect the verb endings with the subject.
Le gusto, (he/she likes me) for example, has the -o ending which we naturally connect with the first person singular yo (I). It can therefore appear that here you are the one liking when in reality you’re the one being liked.
The key to avoiding confusion is to create possible sentences that could arise in conversation and practice them ahead of time.
The Most Important Spanish Verbs Like Gustar
Now that you’ve got the basic concept down, the rest of the verbs should come pretty easily. Here’s a starting list of pesky verbs that function just like gustar.
1. Encantar (to love something)
While this verb can be used to refer to the love of people, and means more to be delighted or charmed by someone in certain contexts, amar is more associated with the love of people while encantar tends to be used more in reference to things. For example:
A Daniel le encantó el partido. (Daniel loved the game.)
As with gustar, the conjugation of this verb is dictated by the thing being loved (el partido). The third person singular has been used in the past simple tense because partido (game) is singular.
The A Daniel at the beginning of the sentence can be used to emphasize the subject (maybe you didn’t like the game but he really did). It can also clarify who loved the game if you’ve been talking about more than one person (the article le could refer to anyone, male or female).
2. Costar (to cost)
The verb costar can be used in two different senses in Spanish. The first possible usage has to do with money:
Esas zapatillas le costaron a Sara cuarenta dólares. (Those tennis shoes cost Sara forty dollars.)
Here we’re looking at the third person plural in the simple past tense because zapatillas (tennis shoes) is plural.
The second usage of this verb refers to difficulty:
Me cuesta subir la cuesta. (It’s difficult for me to go up the hill.)
The literal translation is: It costs me to go up the hill.
As you can see, the third person singular form, cuesta, can also be used as a noun to mean “hill.”
3. Molestar (to be a bother)
This false friend has been the cause of much confusion for many English speakers. The correct Spanish equivalent for “molest” is actually acosar.
La música de nuestro compañero de cuarto nos molesta muchísimo. (Our roommate’s music bothers us so much.)
Music here is singular, so molestar is also singular.
4. Quedar (remain)
Quedar is one of those multi-use types of verbs that will annoy the heck out of you in the beginning, but it’s indispensable in conversation. Here I’ve provided two popular uses of this verb in Spanish. In this first sentence, quedar is used to mean “to remain”:
Sólo me quedan tres asignaturas más y ya me gradúo. (I only have three more classes left before I graduate.)
The literal translation reads like: “Only for me remain three classes more and already I graduate.”
Here the verb quedar is plural because it refers to the word asignaturas (classes).
Quedar can also be used mean “to meet.” Here in Spain, it’s common to say:
¿A qué hora hemos quedado? (What time are we going to meet at?)
The literal translation of this sentence reads like: “At what time have we met?”
Oddly enough, this phrase uses the present perfect to refer to a future event. When translated directly to English it’s confusing since it sounds like something that has already happened.
5. Sobrar (to be left over)
Knowing the verb sobrar will automatically add several more Spanish words to your vocabulary. If you know that sobrar means “to be left over” then you can easily deduce that las sobras is the word for “leftovers.” In Spanish schools, the word sobresaliente is used to refer to an outstanding grade (one that goes above and beyond what is necessary to pass).
Here’s an example of a common usage of the verb sobrar:
Nos ha sobrado mucha comida de la fiesta que hicimos el otro día. (There is a lot of food left over from the party that we had the other day.)
Note that instead of han sobrado (which would be the plural version of the present perfect) we have chosen ha which is singular in reference to comida (food).
Also note that in Spanish they don’t use the verb “to have” when speaking of throwing a party like we do in English. Instead they use the verb hacer which means “to do or to make.”
In more slang terms, sobrar can be used to say that something is unnecessary. For example, if someone makes a rude or out-of-place remark in a group someone might say something like this:
Ese comentario sobra. (That remark is unnecessary.)
6. Importar (to be important to)
This verb, like many Spanish verbs, has a couple of different meanings including “to import” and “to be of interest.” However, the most common usage in Spanish is “to be important to.”
Antes la familia le importaba mucho pero ahora sólo le importan los amigos. (His family used to be important to him but now only his friends are.)
In this sentence where we move from the past imperfect to the simple present, the verb importar changes from singular to plural to accommodate first la familia which is singular and then los amigos which is plural.
7. Aburrir (to bore)
Besides the common meaning of “to bore,” this verb can also be used to mean “to tire,” “to annoy” or “to irritate.” In its reflexive form (aburrirse) the meaning changes to mean “to become bored” in a general sense. Here’s an example of the non-reflexive usage of this verb:
El béisbol me aburre mucho. (Baseball really bores me.)
The third person singular is used here to refer to the singular noun béisbol. Remember that in cases like this, the article must be added before the noun (el béisbol) unlike in English where we simply say “baseball.”
8. Preocupar (to worry)
Besides the common meaning of “to worry,” this verb can also be used to mean “to interest,” “to concern” or “to care about.” Like many of the verbs in this list, this one has a reflexive form (preocuparse) which means “to become worried.” Here’s an example of the non-reflexive usage of this verb:
Me preocupas mucho. (You really worry me.)
Here the subject (me) is speaking directly to another person (you), so preocupar takes on the second person form of preocupas rather than preocupa or preocupan.
9. Faltar (to be lacking something)
Along with the definition of “to be lacking something,” faltar can also be used to refer to attendance. Faltar al trabajo, for example, means “to miss work.” However, the most common usage of this word is in reference to lack. Here’s an example of this usage:
Me faltan dos jugadores en el equipo. (I lack two players in the team.)
10. Atraer (to attract)
In its reflexive form, atraerse, refers to the equal attraction between two things. So if we wanted to say that María and Pedro were attracted to each other we would say:
María y Pedro se atraen.
But, alas, attraction is not always reciprocated and that’s where the non-reflexive form comes in. Here’s an example of its usage:
Hugo no le atrae mucho a Marina. (Marina is not very attracted to Hugo.)
The literal translation of this is: Hugo doesn’t attract a lot to Marina.
Hugo is singular so here we use atrae instead of atraen. Notice that the clarification/emphasis addition of a Marina is placed at the end rather than at the beginning of the sentence this time but still functions in the same way. We also could have formatted the sentence as:
A Marina no le atrae mucho Hugo. (Marina is not very attracted to Hugo.)
Another colloquial sort of way to express this sentiment is to use the phrase llamar la atención.
Hugo no le llama mucho la atención a Marina. (Hugo doesn’t really catch her eye/spark her interest.)
The literal translation of this is: Hugo doesn’t her call a lot the attention.
11. Convenir (to be in someone’s interest)
The verb convenir probably makes you think of two things in English: convene and convenient. In this case, the word “convenient” is kind of helpful in remembering the definition of this Spanish verb. If something is convenient for you then it’s probably in your interest (though not always!).
Here’s an example:
Los cambios en el horario no me convienen nada. (The changes in the schedule are not in my interest at all.)
Here los cambios (the changes) is plural and therefore we use convienen rather than conviene.
12. Parecer (to appear to be)
Aside from its usage as a verb, parecer can also be used as a noun to mean “opinion.” Cambiar de parecer and the more commonly used cambiar de opinión both mean to change your mind or have a change of heart. Here’s an example of what this Spanish word looks like when functioning as a verb:
Me parece muy buena gente. (They seem to be/appear to be really good people)
Since gente (people) is singular, the verb parecer changes to parece here.
13. Doler (o:ue) (to be painful)
It’s important to note that the verb doler becomes irregular (o changes to ue) in many conjugations in the simple present:
In the following example, however, the verb stays regular:
Después de andar tanto por la calle me dolían los pies. (After walking around so much on the street my feet were hurting me.)
Here we use the imperfect past tense and the third person plural to refer to pies (feet).
14. Picar (to itch)
Picar is yet another Spanish verb with a wide variety of meanings. Let’s start with an example of one of its most common uses:
Nos pican mucho las picaduras que tenemos en las piernas. (The bug bites we have on our legs really itch.)
Since picaduras (bug bites) is plural we’ve used the third person plural conjugation pican here.
As you can see, the pica in picaduras comes from the verb picar. The verb picar can also be used as the verb “to bite.” For example:
Siempre me pican mucho los mosquitos. (Mosquitos always bite me a lot.)
So, in the end, both the verbs “to itch” and “to bite” are represented by the Spanish verb picar. Not only that, but this verb is also used to mean “to bite” in the sense of spiciness. For example:
La salsa pica mucho. (The salsa is really spicy.)
But wait, there’s more! Picar is also slang for the phrase “to pick on” but is always used in a pretty lighthearted sense. For example, a child might use this word to complain to their mother when a sibling is teasing them:
Máma, me está picando Sandra. Me dice que no sé cantar. (Mom, Sandra is picking on me. She says I don’t know how to sing.)
Important Phrases with These Tricky Verbs
Now that we’ve learned some of the most commonly used verbs that follow the same pattern as gustar, I’ll leave you with some extremely popular Spanish phrases whose verbs also follow the same pattern.
Volver loco (drive crazy, drive mad)
You’ve probably heard this phrase before in a reggaeton song.
Me vuelves loco (You drive me crazy)
Here’s an example of the usage of this phrase in its reflexive form:
Andrés se ha vuelto loco (Andrés has gone crazy)
Caer bien / mal (to give a good/bad impression)
Both caer fatal and caer gordo can be used to mean that someone has given you a really bad impression or you really don’t like them.
Ese tío me ha caído gordo. (That guy has given me a really bad impression/I really don’t like that guy.)
Literal translation: That uncle me has fallen fat.
Quedar bien / mal (to suit/to not suit)
This phrase is usually used in reference to style and fashion in general. For example:
Ese vestido te queda fenomenal. (That dress suits you really well/looks amazing on you.)
Dar asco (to be loathsome)
Take the Spanish verb dar then add a noun: this is a common formula for a huge portion of Spanish phrases. Dar asco is just one of many. For example, dar calabazas (give pumpkins) is a colloquial phrase used in Spanish to mean “to reject.”
The phrase dar caña is normally used as a command meaning “to get a move on” or “to hurry up.” While both these phrases are quite slang in nature, dar asco is an extremely common, everyday sort of Spanish phrase:
Las arañas me dan asco. Spiders disgust me.
Literal translation: The spiders me give disgust.
Another phrase that can also be used in this sense (but is not limited to it) is dar cosa:
Las arañas me dan cosa. Spiders give me the creeps.
Literal translation: The spiders me give thing.
Here’s another example with the phrase dar cosa that doesn’t have quite the same connotation:
Me da cosa abrir el regalo porque el papel es tan bonito. (I feel funny about opening the gift because the wrapping paper is so beautiful.)
Hacer falta (to be needed/necessary)
The phrase no hace falta is a very common one here in Spain and is used to mean “it’s not necessary.” When we want to say that something is necessary, this is how the phrase functions in Spanish:
En esta casa hace falta aire acondicionado. (This house needs air conditioning.)
100+ More Spanish Verbs Like Gustar
Aside from the examples above, there are tons of other Spanish words that follow the same conjugation rules as “gustar.” Most of them are related to emotions and preferences:
|To overwhelm, to burden
|To make happy
|To amaze, to hallucinate
|To embitter, to sour
|To feel like / to crave
|To be passionate about
|To frighten, to scare
|To torment, to torture
|To stun, to bewilder
|To embarrass, to shame
|To be enough
|To annoy, to anger
|To like, to appeal to
|To calm, to soothe
|To tire, to weary
|To captivate, to charm
|To please, to satisfy
|To move emotionally
|To console, to comfort
|To scare, to frighten
|To feel sorry for
|To feel embarrassed
|To delight, to please
|To confuse, to bewilder
|To disappoint, to disillusion
|To amuse, to entertain
|To captivate, to enchant
|To intoxicate, to enrapture
|To excite, to move emotionally
|To be too sweet, to be sickeningly sweet
|To fall in love with, to enchant
|To love, to delight
|To make proud
|To enthuse, to excite
|To make angry
|To embolden, to encourage
|To shudder, to shake
|To exasperate, to irritate
|To surprise, to find odd
|To bother, to annoy
|To tire, to weary
|To flatter, to compliment
|To impact, to have an impact
|To inconvenience, to bother
|To anger, to outrage
|To worry, to disturb
|To marvel, to amaze
|To make dizzy, to confuse
|To harm, to damage
|To disturb, to perturb
|To comfort, to console
|To calm, to soothe
How to Practice Verbs Like Gustar
Since these verbs don’t follow the usual structure, here’s how you can master them more quickly:
Prepare Your Mind for a Break in the Pattern
One of the biggest reasons why we fail over and over again with verbs like gustar is that we don’t mentally separate them from the rest. To remember these kinds of verbs, they absolutely must be studied separately.
Use this article to group together all of the verbs that don’t follow the familiar “subject + verb + object” formula, and you’re already one step closer to dominating this difficult grammatical concept.
We often don’t anticipate how it’s very, very easy to make mistakes in conversation when using verbs like gustar.
Your mind will need more time to correctly conjugate these verbs. Practice forming sentences with these types of verbs—especially with gustar—on your own so that you can be mentally quick in conversation and you’ll be ahead of the game when the time comes to put them to use.
Listen to the Words in Use
The best way to learn words like gustar is to hear them in use by actual Spanish speakers.
Watch out for these words and phrases in native Spanish content, such as books and online videos. FluentU, for instance, features authentic Spanish media clips with interactive subtitles that break down the vocabulary and grammar for you. You can even look up specific verbs to see videos where they’re used in context.
If you haven’t already started compiling your list of defiant verbs then this is the time to do so!
Remember that gustar is the most commonly used and confused verb of them all so focus on mastering it first.
From there the rest is what the Spanish would call pan comido—a piece of cake!