Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Tell Me, Do You Like Apples?


SCENARIO
Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. You are talking about food and what you like/ dislike. At some point, the other person says to you something like: "tell me, do you like apples?"*.

In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿te gustan las manzanas?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿le gustan las manzanas?


OUR TIP
The question is an invitation for you to say whether or not you like apples. When you say what you like/ dislike, you do not need to consider different levels of formality for your reply. Your only concern should be about saying whether or not you like apples. Please note that a simple yes/ no may be sufficient as an answer. However with a little bit of effort, your answer can be much more informative.

Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • Sí, me gustan* las manzanas (yes, I like apples);
  • Sí, a mi me gustan* las manzanas (yes, I like apples);**
  • Sí, me gustan* mucho las manzanas (yes, I like apples a lot);
  • Sí, las manzanas me gustan* mucho (yes, I like apples a lot);
  • No, no me gustan* las manzanas (no, I don't like apples);
  • No, a mi no me gustan* las manzanas (no, I don't like apples);**
  • No, las manzanas no me gustan* nada (no, I don't like apples at all);

**NB When using this answer, the meaning is not significantly different, but a bit more emphasis is placed on the “I”.

Now you should practise replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿te gustan las manzanas?

*Please see grammar topic below, “gustar” and similar verbs- “I like... ” (plural)

Grammar-”Gustar” and similar verbs
In Spanish there are a number of verbs, of which “gustar” is perhaps the most commonly used, which tend to cause a bit of confusion to English speakers who are learning Spanish.

Perhaps the main cause for the confusion is the fact that, with these verbs, the subject of the sentence in English does not translate into the subject of the sentence in Spanish. In fact, with these verbs, the subject of the sentence in English becomes an indirect object of the sentence in Spanish. This peculiarity can be illustrated with a simple English sentence such as, “I like apples”. First of all we note that:
  • The subject is, “I
  • The sentence has a direct object “apples”.

When we translate that sentence into Spanish using the Spanish the verb “gustar”, we get: “Me gustan las manzanas. A couple of things to note about the resulting Spanish sentence are:
  • The English subject (“I”) has become an indirect object (“me”)
  • The English direct object (“apples”) has become the subject (“las manzanas”)

The implications of this transformation can be shown more succinctly in this table:
English
Spanish
I like Me gusta/ gustan*
You like Te gusta/ gustan* (familiar)
Le gusta/ gustan* (formal)
He/ she likes Le gusta/ gustan*
We like Nos gusta/ gustan*
You** like Os gusta/ gustan* (familiar)
Les gusta/ gustan* (formal)
They like Les gusta/ gustan*

*NB Points 1 → 3 below outline when to use “me gusta” or “me gustan
**NB you plural

From the table above it can be seen that for each English expression there are two options in Spanish. The three scenarios outlined below should help you choose between those two options.

    1. “I like...” (singular)
When the English direct object is singular, in Spanish you should use the singular form “gusta

  • Some examples of this are:
    • Me gusta Pedro (I like Pedro);
    • Me gusta la cerveza (I like beer);
    • Te gusta la cerveza, ¿verdad? (you like beer, don't you- familiar);
    • Te gusta María, ¿verdad? (you like Maria, don't you?- familiar);
    • A usted le gusta María, ¿verdad? (you like Maria, don't you?- formal);
    • A usted le gusta la cerveza, ¿verdad? (you like beer, don't you?- formal);
    • A Peter le gusta la cerveza (Peter likes beer);
    • Nos gusta la cerveza (we like beer);
    • Os gusta la cerveza, ¿verdad? (you- plural like beer, don't you- familiar);
    • A ustedes les gusta la cerveza, ¿verdad? (you- plural like beer, don't you?- formal);
    • A John y Ann les gusta la cerveza (John and Ann like beer);


    2. “I like... ” (plural)
When the English direct object is plural, in Spanish you should use the plural form “gustan

  • Some examples this are:
    • Me gustan las patatas (I like potatoes);
    • Te gustan las patatas, ¿verdad? (you like potatoes, don't you- familiar);
    • A usted le gustan las patatas, ¿verdad? (you like potatoes, don't you?- formal);
    • A Peter le gustan las patatas (Peter likes potatoes);
    • Nos gustan las patatas (we like potatoes);
    • Os gustan las patatas, ¿verdad? (you- plural like potatoes, don't you- familiar);
    • A ustedes les gustan las patatas, ¿verdad? (you- plural like potatoes, don't you?- formal);
    • A John y Ann les gustan las patatas (John and Ann like potatoes);


    3. “I like... ” (action/ activity)
When the direct object in English is an action or activity, in Spanish you should use the singular form “gusta

  • Some examples of this are:
    • Me gusta bailar (I like dancing*);
    • Te gusta bailar, ¿verdad? (you like dancing*, don't you- familiar);
    • A usted le gusta bailar, ¿verdad? (you like dancing*, don't you?- formal);
    • A Peter le gusta bailar (Peter likes dancing*);
    • Nos gusta bailar (we like dancing);
    • Os gusta bailar, ¿verdad? (you- plural like dancing*, don't you- familiar);
    • A ustedes les gusta bailar, ¿verdad? (you- plural like dancing*, don't you?- formal);
    • A John y Ann les gusta bailar (John and Ann like dancing*);

*NB Please note that whilst in English the gerund/ present participle is used in sentences like this, in Spanish the infinitive is used throughout.

Now you should practise the use of “gustar” with some examples of your own.

Spanish lessons online
Skype/ Google+ Hangout/ Facetime
Great lessons

Free Spanish:
Follow us on:
Twitter: @LoveSpanish_com
© Copyright 2013 Love-Spanish.com. by Jose M González. All Rights Reserved.
Post a Comment