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Basic prepositions

Prepositions are used to indicate a relationship between two words, linking them together.
These words usually show location, direction, or time. As preposition suggests, these
words precede the word or words it links. There are simple prepositions, which consist of
only one word, and compound prepositions, which consist of multiple words.

Simple prepositions
Below you will find a list of the most common simple prepositions in Spanish.
a

to, at

desde from, since

detrs
de

behind

ante

before, in the
presence of

en

in, on, at

segn

according to

bajo

under

entre

between,
among

sin

without

con

with

hacia until, toward

sobre

about, on, upon, above, over,


around

contr
against
a

hasta until, toward

tras

after, behind

de

por

para

for, in order to

of, from

for, by

Uses
In most cases, prepositions are used the same way in Spanish as they are used in English and
you will find their placements fairly logical. There are a few, however, that warrant a little extra
attention. For each preposition below you will find the occasions it is used most commonly as
well as several examples with translations since one preposition in Spanish can have many
different translations in English.

A
This is a very common preposition that can mean to, at, by, or for depending on the manner it is
used. It can be used to:
indicate motion (to)

Fuimos a Espaa. (We went to Spain.)


Iremos al museo el martes. (We will go to the museum on Tuesday.)

connect one verb to an infinitive (not translated directly)

Vamos a bailar. (We are going to dance.)


Empec a leer. (I began to read.)

indicate manner, how something is done (on, by, with)

Vamos a pie. (We went on foot.)


Lo hice a mano. (I did it by hand.)
Escribe a lpiz. (He writes with a pencil.)

introduce a person as a direct object - Personal a (not translated directly)

Conoces a Isabela? (Do you know Isabela?)


Veo a mi madre. (I see my mother.)

introduce an indirect object (to, for)

Le di el regalo a Celia. (I gave the gift to Celia.)


Compr los tomates a Anita. (I bought the tomatoes for Anita.)

express time (at, is)

Cenamos a las seis. (We eat dinner at six o'clock.)


Estamos a martes. (It is Tuesday.)

De
This preposition can mean of or from, depending on the use. It can be used to:
indicate possession (of)

Atlanta es la capital de Georgia. (Atlanta is the capitol of Georgia.)


El caf de Manuel (Manuel's cafe)

indicate cause (from, with)

Estoy cansada de correr. (I am tired from running.)


Estamos contentos de nuestro hijo. (We are happy with our son.)

indicate origin (from, of)

Ella es de Uruguay. (She is from Uruguay.)


Sonia es la ms inteligente de la familia. (Sonia is the most intelligent of the family.)

describe a noun with another noun or infinitive (of)

Un vaso de vino (A glass of wine)


El jugo de naranja (Orange juice)

compare (than)

Juan es el ms grande de todos los estudiantes del quinto grado. (Juan is the biggest
of all 5th grade students.)
Hay ms de 10 personas en la clase de historia. (There are more than 10 people in the
history class.

and also in idioms

De ahora en adelante (From now on)


De pie (Standing)

En
This common preposition can mean in, on, at, about, or by depending on the context. It can be
used to:
indicate location (in, on, at)

Est en mi mochila. (It is in my backpack.)


Pon el cuadro en la pared. (Put the painting on the wall.)
Ellos estn en la iglesia. (They are at church.)

to indicate time (in)

Fui a Per en el verano. (I went to Peru in the summer.)


Vienen en una hora. (They are arriving in one hour.)

to indicate manner, how something is done (by)

Vamos a Italia en tren. (We go to Italia by train.)


Me voy al doctor en coche. (I go to the doctor by car.)

idioms (see compound prepositions below)

En broma (As a joke)


En serio (Seriously)
En vivo (Live)

EJERCICIOS:
Fuimos (to)_______ Per este verano.
Es el ms alto (of) ________ todos en la clase.
Veo (personal indicator) _________mi amiga Anita.
Pon la silla (in) ________ el comedor.
Viajamos por Italia (by) ________ tren.
Vamos (to) ________ la fiesta (at) ________ las ocho.
Vi mi asiento (in) ________ la clase turstica.
Habl (in the presence of) ________ sus abuelos.
Este regalo es (for) ________ mi madre.
Es delicioso (according to) ________ mi madre.
(Until) ________ no me des el dinero, no recibirs nada.
Fuimos (on) ________ pie.
Anita es (from) ________ Argentina.
Me voy a la oficina (by) ________ autobus.
Madrid es la capital (of) ________ Espaa.
Albus es el perro (of) ________ Paralee.
Quera un vaso (of) ________ agua.
Siempre escribo (with) l ________ piz.
Mis padres estn (at) ________ la iglesia.
El bao est (between) ________ las dos puertas rojas.
Levant a mi hija (into) ________ el carrito de equipaje.
El perro est (behind) ________ la silla
Lo hice (by) ________ mano.
El libro est (in) ________ mi mochila.
Quiero arroz (with) ________ pollo.
Empec (no direct translation) ________ cocinar la cena.
El libro est (under) ________ el sof.
Llegu a la fiesta (without) ________ un regalo.
Vamos (not translated directly) ________ cenar a las seis.
Adolfo es el ms amistoso (of) ________ mi grupo de amigos.
(From) ________ ahora, comer mejor.

a (to, at)
al (upon)
al lado de (beside)
ante (before)
antes de (before)
bajo (under)
cerca de (near)
como (like)
con (with)

List of Spanish Prepositions


en vez de (instead of)
en (in, at)
encima de (above, on top)
enfrente de (in front of)
entre (between, among)
fuera de (outside)
hacia (towards)
hasta (until)
lejos de (far from)

contra (against)
de (from, of, about)
debajo de (under, beneath)
delante de (in front of)
dentro de (inside)
desde (since)
despus de (after)
detrs de (behind)

menos (except)
para (for)
por (for, on account of)
salvo (except)
segn (according to)
sin (without)
sobre (about, above/on)
tras (after)

These are some common prepositions used in a sentence to understand their meaning
and the position they take better:

Examples of Spanish Prepositions


a (to, at) : voy a Marruecos y las Islas canarias (Im going to Morocco & Canaries
Islands)
a personal: espero a mi hermano (Im waiting for my brother) busca a alguien (Im
looking for someone)
al (upon) : Al llegar a mi casa, voy a dormir (Upon arriving home, I'll go to sleep)
al lado de (beside, by): Vivo al lado del ro (I live by the lake)
antes de (before): bebo agua antes de dormir (I drink water before sleeping)
bajo (under): juega bajo la lluvia(he plays under the rain), busque bajo la mesa!(look
under the table)
cerca de (near) : trabajo cerca del banco (I work near the bank)
como (like, as): dormir como un tronco (to sleep like a log), como postre tomo...( as a
dessert I will take...)
con (with) : salgo con Maria (Im going out with Maria), huevos con queso (eggs with
cheese)
contra (against): estoy contra la Guerra (Im against war)
de (from, of, about): compr una mesa de mrmol (I bought table made of marble)
debajo de (under, beneath): los hombres por debajo de los 30 aos (men under 30 years
old)
delante de (in front of): Delante de Dios (in front of God). Creo que Atlantis est
delante de Gibraltar.
dentro de (inside): tengo sentimientos dentro de m (I have feelings inside me)
desde (since): trabajo en la biblioteca desde 1998 (I work in the library since 1998)
despus de (after): la vida despus de la muerte (the life after death)
detrs de (behind): el campo de ftbol est detrs de la escuela (the football field is
located behind the school)
en vez de (instead of): en vez de enfadarte, deberas perdonarlos (instead of getting mad,
you should forgive them)
en (in, at) : estoy en cama ahora(Im in bed now). Vivo en argentina (I live en
argentina).
encima de (above, on top): las cartas estn encima de la mesa (the letters are on the top
of the table)

enfrente de (in front of): el hombre enfrente de m es un hroe (the man in front of me
is a hero)
entre (between, among): vive en la frontera entre los EE.UU y mexico (he lives at the
border between the U.S & Mexico)
fuera de (outside): comes fuera de casa mucho( you eat outside the house a lot)
hacia (towards): busco la carretera hacia Madrid (I'm looking for the road towards
Madrid)
hasta (until): ayer trabaj hasta las diez (I worked until 10 oclock yesterday)
lejos de (far from): est muy lejos de aqu? (is it far from here?)
para*(for): trabajo para Global7 (I work for Global7). para prendir un idioma es
necesario praticar (to learn a language...)
por * (for, on account of): por eso no quiero hablar con l ( for this reason I don't want
to talk to him)
segn (according to): segn la previsin del tiempo, brillar el sol todo el da
(according to the forecast,...)
sin (without): eh! cunto tiempo sin verte! (hey, its be a while, literally: long time
without seeing you)
sobre (about, on):colecciono todo sobre las monedas (I collect everything about
coins),sobre la mesa(on the table)

Some prepositions rules:


Preposition + noun: Sin corazn (without heart). Sobre la mesa (on the table).
Preposition + pronoun: cmo yo (like me). para m (for me).
Preposition + infinitive: para variar (just for a change). para empezar (first...)
Verb + preposition: trabaj hasta las ocho (I worked until 10). trabajo para la embajada
(I work for the embassy)
Sometimes it's hard to pick which preposition to use in certain cases, that's why we're
going to go through examples of prepositions that you may have hard time to chose, like
(por and para), they both mean the same thing in English, but still in Spanish each one
of them is used in a certain situation.
A: -connects a verb of motion + infinitive: voy a bailar (I'm gonig to dance) -joins any
verb (except tener) + a person: busco a mi hijo (I'm looking for my son).
De: descriptively links two nouns: el hroe de la historia (the hero of the story)
expresses possession: el perro de perdo (Pedros dog).
En (in, on): Estoy en Madrid. (I'm in Madrid). empeczo en 30 minutos. (I'll start in 30
minutes). la tarjeta en la mesa (the letter on the table).

Para vs Por: por is more common than para, so to make it easy, try to learn the rules of
para and for the rest you can just use por. In most cases para refers to a goal or
destination.
Para: (in order to + infinitivo): Para aprender, hay que practicar (in order to learn, we
must practice). (For: for the benefit of, to be given to): eso es para t (this is for you).
(For: by (deadline): Hay que hacerlo para el jueves (it must be done by thursday). (for:
towards, in the direction of): voy para la escuela (I'm going to school). (For: to be used
for): una taza para caf. (For: in one's opinion, compared to others): Para m, no me
gusta el jamn (I dont like pork) (for: like to work for): Trabajo para Lingualogy Inc.
Por: (by, via, by means of):Viaj por tren.(I traveled by train) (through, along): Voy a
NY por Washington DC ( I go to NY through DC). (Because of, due to): no lo hice por
dinero (I didnt do it for money). (During, in (time of day). estudio por la maana. (For:
in exchange for): Pagu 40 dlares por el libro. (For: for a period of time: estudi por 6
horas. (For: for the sake of, on behalf of) Lo hizo solo por ella (I only did it for her).
Por is also used in idiomatic expressions; here are the most common ones:

Spanish Idioms
por supuesto!
Of course!
por qu?
Why? For what reason?
da por da
Day by day
estar por
To be in the mood to
palabra por palabra
Word for word
por adelantado
In advance
por ahora
For now
por all
Around there, that way
por amor de Dios
For the love of God
por aqu
Around here, this way
por casualidad
By chance
por ciento
Percent
por cierto
Certainly
por completo
Completely
por correo
By mail/post
por dentro
Inside
por desgracia
Unfortunately
por Dios
For heaven's sake
por ejemplo
For example
por eso
Therefore, that's why
por favor
Please
por fin
Finally
por la maana, tarde
In the morning, afternoon
por la noche
At night
por las buenas o por las malas
Whether you like it or not
por lo comn
Usually

por lo dems
por lo general
por lo menos
por lo mismo
por lo que a m me toca
por lo tanto
por lo visto
por medio de
por mi parte
por motivo de
por ningn lado
por orden
por otra parte
por poco
por primera/ltima vez
por separado
por si acaso
por su propio mano
por suerte
por supuesto
por telfono
por todas partes
por todos lados
por ltimo
por un lado, por otro
una vez por todas

Furthermore
Generally, in general
At least
For that very reason
As far as I'm concerned
Therefore
Apparently
By means of
For my part
On account of
Nowhere
In order
On the other hand
Almost
For the first/last time
Separately
Just in case
By one's own hand
Fortunately
Of course
On the phone, by phone
Everywhere
On all sides
Finally
On one hand, on the other hand
Once and for all

Preposition para:
estar para
para entonces
para qu?
para siempre
para variar

To be about to
By that time
Why? For what purpose? What for?
Forever
Just for a change

Some Compound prepositions:

a causa de (because of, due to)


a excepcin de (with exception of)
a fuerza de (by dint of)
a menos de (without (with infinitive)
a pesar de (in spite of)
acerca de (concerning)
adems de (moreover)

despus de (alter)
detrs de (behind, in back of)
en frente de (in front of)
en vez de (instead of)
en virtud de (by virtue of)
frente a (before, in front of)
fuera de (outside of)

adversamente a (adverse to)


al travs de (across from)
alrededor de (around)
antes de (before)
cerca de (close to)
contrario a (contrary to)
correspondiente a (corresponding to)
debajo de (under, beneath)
delante de (in front of)
dentro de (in, inside of)

junto a (next to, beside)


lejos de (far from)
por causa de (by cause of, because)
por parte de (on account of)
por razn de (by reason of)
relativamente a (relative to)
respeto a (with respect to)
sin embargo de (however)
tocante a (about, concerning)

Comparisons of Inequality
If two things are not equal, they are unequal.
We are not the same height.
You are taller than I.
The two items do not cost the same.
The camera is more expensive than the television.
In Spanish, inequality is expressed by using one of the following formulae:
ms (menos) + adjective + que
ms (menos) + adverb + que
ms (menos) + noun + que
Here are some examples:
T eres ms alto que yo.
You are taller than I.
Mnica habla ms lentamente que Carmen.
Monica speaks more slowly than Carmen.
Tengo menos libros que Arsenio.
I have fewer books than Arsenio.
If the comparative is followed by a number, use de rather than que.
Hay menos de veinte alumnos en la clase.
There are less than twenty students in the class.
l tiene ms de noventa aos.
He is more than ninety years old. (Literally: He has more than ninety years.)
Note that when the sentence is negative, que is used even with numbers, to convey the
meaning "only."

Tengo ms de cinco dlares.


(I have more than five dollars.)
but
No tengo ms que cinco dlares.
(I only have five dollars.)
Hay ms de veinte estudiantes en la clase.
(There are more than twenty students in the class.)
but
No hay ms que veinte estudiantes en la clase.
(There are only twenty students in the class.)
1. There are fewer girls than boys.
Hay ________ chicas que chicos.
2. You are taller than Emilio.
T eres ms alto ________ Emilio.
3. She is less than 18 years old.
Ella tiene menos ________ dieciocho aos.
4. He is over 40 years old.
l tiene ms ________ cuarenta aos.
5. There are only twenty students in the class.
No hay ms _______ veinte alumnos en la clase.
6. I have more homework than you.
Tengo ms tarea ________ t.
7. He runs less quickly than I.
l corre ________ rpidamente que yo.
8. I earn less money than she.
Gano ________ dinero que ella.
9. Your uncle is fatter than mine.
Tu to es ms gordo ________ el mo.
10. The cat is less intelligent than the dog.
El gato es ________ inteligente que el perro.
11. I only have ten dollars.
No tengo ms ________ diez dlares.

12. There are more than twenty students in the class.


Hay ms ________ veinte estudiantes en la clase.

13. He only has two brothers.


No tiene ms ________ dos hermanos.
14. We only have one house.
No tenemos ms ________ una casa.
15. There are fewer horses than cars.
Hay ________ caballos que coches.

B. Combine the two sentences into one.


Model:
Yo estoy cansado.
T ests ms cansado.
Yo estoy menos cansado que t.
16. La pelcula es interesante.
El libro es ms interesante.
La pelcula es ________ interesante que el libro.
17. El japons es difcil.
El espaol es menos difcil.
El espaol es ________ difcil que el japons.
18. La casa blanca es cara.
La casa roja es ms cara.
______________________________________
19. La carne es deliciosa.
La sopa es ms deliciosa.
______________________________________
20. El libro de Miguel es largo.
El libro de Ernesto es menos largo.
______________________________________

Comparisons of Equality
When things being compared have equal characteristics, the comparison of equality is
used.
The book is as good as the movie.
The boy is as tall as the girl.
To form the comparisons of equality using adjectives or adverbs, use the following
formula:
tan + adjective (adverb) + como
El libro es tan bueno como la pelcula.
(The book is as good as the movie.)
El chico es tan alto como la chica.
(The boy is as tall as the girl.)
To form comparisons of equality with nouns, use the following formula:
tanto(-a,-os,-as) + noun + como
Juan tiene tanto dinero como Mara.
(as much money as)
l tiene tanta paciencia como ella.
(as much patience as)
Tiene tantos libros como ella.
(as many books as)
Tiene tantas plumas como ella.
(as many pens as)
Choose the form of tanto to agree with the noun it modifies.
tanto dinero
tanta paciencia
tantos libros
tantas plumas
When actions (not things) are being compared, and there is no adjective, use the
following formula:
verb + tanto + como

Sus estudiantes aprenden tanto como mis estudiantes.


(learn as much as)
Rosario cocina tanto como Josefina.
(cooks as much as)
Las naranjas cuestan tanto como las manzanas.
(cost as much as)
When actions (not things) are being compared, and there is an adjective, use the
following formula:
verb + tan + adjective (masculine form) + como
Aqu se trabaja tan duro como ah.
(work as hard as)
El nio juega tan poco como la nia.
(plays as little as)
Ellos duermen tan poco como ella.
(sleep as little as)

A. Combine the two sentences into one.


Model:
Yo tengo una pluma.
T tienes una pluma.
Yo tengo tantas plumas como t.

1. Ricardo es viejo.
Rita es vieja tambin.
Rita es tan vieja _________ Ricardo.
2. El perrito es travieso.
La gatita es traviesa tambin.
______________________________________
3. El chico escribe dos cartas.
La chica escribe dos cartas tambin.
______________________________________
4. El espaol es difcil.
El ingls es difcil tambin.
______________________________________

5. Diego compra siete sombreros.


Enrique compra siete sombreros tambin.
______________________________________
6. Mi primo bebe dos vasos de leche.
Mi prima bebe dos vasos de leche tambin.
______________________________________
7. El seor es rico.
La seora es rica.
______________________________________
8. El caf es bueno.
El agua es buena.
______________________________________
9. La carne de vaca es deliciosa.
La carne de cerdo es deliciosa tambin.
______________________________________
10. Tengo dos hermanos.
Tienes dos hermanos.
______________________________________

Superlatives
There are two types of superlative: relative and absolute.
Relative: John is the smartest boy in the class.
Absolute: John is very smart.
The relative superlative describes a noun within the context of some larger group.
John is the smartest boy in the class.
Mary is the youngest person in the room.
Of the three, Moe is the meanest.
The absolute superlative does not describe the noun in the context of a larger group.
John is very smart.
The book is extremely expensive.
The food is indescribably tasty.
In English, the relative superlative is formed by using the word "most" or the ending "est."
John is the most intelligent boy in the class.
Mary is the smartest girl in the class.

In Spanish, the relative superlative construction is similar to the comparative.


definite article + noun + ms (menos) + adjective + de

Here are some superlative examples.


Juan es el chico ms inteligente de la clase.
John is the smartest boy in the class.
Bill Gates es el hombre ms rico de los EEUU.
Bill Gates is the richest man in the U.S.
Just like in English, the noun can be omitted. All of the following are correct.
Mara es la chica ms delgada de la clase.
Mary is the thinnest girl in the class.
Mara es la ms delgada de la clase.
Mary is the thinnest in the class.
The absolute superlative for adjectives has three possible forms.
muy + adjective
sumamente + adjective
adjective + simo (-a, -os, -as)
The following translations are somewhat arbitrary. Each superlative statement is a little
stronger than the one that precedes it.
muy guapo
very handsome
sumamente guapo
extremely handsome
guapsimo
indescribably handsome

Translate the following sentences.


1. Emilio is the tallest boy in the school.
Emilio es ___________ chico ms alto de la escuela.

2. She is the oldest one of us.


Es ___________ ms vieja de nosotras.

3. Paul is the shortest in the family.


Pablo es el ms ___________de la familia.

4. Mr. Gmez is the most important man in the city.


El seor Gmez es el hombre ms importante de la ___________

5. Sugar is the most important product of Cuba.


El azcar ___________ el producto ms importante de Cuba.

6. Mate is the most popular beverage of Argentina


El mate es la bebida ms popular de ___________ Argentina.

7. Cervantes is the most famous writer of Spain.


Cervantes es el escritor ms famoso ___________Espaa.

8. Elaine and Teresa are the tallest of the group.


Elena y Teresa son las ms altas ___________ grupo.

B. Choose the best answer.


9. Carmen is very pretty.
Carmen es muy guapa.
Carmen es sumamente guapa.
Carmen es guapsima.

10. The food is indescribably delicious.


La comida es muy rica.
La comida es sumamente rica.
La comida es riqusima.

Irregular Comparatives
T eres ms alto que yo.
You are taller than I.
Juan es el chico ms inteligente de la clase.
John is the smartest boy in the class.
The following adjectives have irregular forms for the comparative and the superlative:
Adjective: bueno (good)
Comparative: mejor (better)
Superlative: el/la mejor (best)
Adjective: malo (bad)
Comparative: peor (worse)
Superlative: el/la peor (the worst)
Note that the words ms and menos are not used with the irregular comparatives.
Correct:
Este libro es bueno, pero ese libro es mejor.
Correct:
Esta pelcula es mala, pero esa pelcula es peor.
With the irregular superlatives, the definite article is used.
Este libro es bueno.
This book is good.
Ese libro es mejor.
That book is better.
Aquel libro es el mejor.
That book over there is the best.
Here are two more adjectives with irregular comparatives and superlatives:
Adjective: grande (big)
Comparative: mayor (older; greater)
Superlative: el/la mayor (the oldest; the greatest)

Adjective: pequeo (small)


Comparative: menor (younger; less)
Superlative: el/la menor (youngest; least)

Note that when referring to size, grande and pequeo follow the normal rules for
comparative and superlative forms. That is, they do not use the irregular forms menor
and mayor.
Esta casa es grande.
This house is big.
Esa casa es ms grande.
That house is bigger.
Aquella casa es la ms grande.
That house over there is the biggest.
When referring to age, use the irregular forms mayor and menor.
Juan es menor que Mara.
Juan is younger than Maria.
Mara es la mayor de la familia.
Maria is the oldest of the family.
When referring to the concepts "less" or "greater", use the irregular forms mayor and
menor.
El agua es de mayor importancia que la comida.
Water is more important than food.
La comida es de menor importancia que el agua.
Food is less important than water.
The words joven and viejo are used for non-comparative descriptions of age.
El nio es joven.
The boy is young.
El abuelo es viejo.
The grandfather is old.

A. Fill in the blanks with the correct comparative forms.


1. Mara es ___________que Juan.
Mara is older than Juan.
2. Ella es la___________de la familia.
She is the youngest of the family.

3. Esta pelcula es ___________que la otra.


This movie is worse than the other.
4. Ese auto es el ___________ .
That car is the best.
5. La nia es ___________
The little girl is young.
6. La abuela es ___________
The grandmother is old.
7. Aquella casa es la ms ___________de todas.
That house over there is the biggest one of all.
8. Aquel auto es ___________ que ste.
That car over there is better than this one.
9. Aqullos son los ms ___________ de todos.
Those over there are the biggest of all.
10. La nia es ___________ que el nio.
The girl is younger than the boy.

Verbs Like Gustar


This is a good time to discuss the verb "gustar" because using it requires use of the IO
pronouns.
Me gusta el cuarto.
I like the room.
Nos gustan los libros.
We like the books.
In English, the following sentences are correct:
I like the room.
We like the books.
Examine the same sentences more closely.
I like the room.
I = subject of sentence
like = verb
the room = direct object

We like the books.


We = subject of sentence
like = verb
the books = direct object

In English, it is correct to construct a sentence that has the subject "liking" a direct
object. In Spanish, this never occurs. In Spanish, a different construction is used.
English: I like the room.
Spanish: The room is pleasing to me.
English: We like the books.
Spanish: The books are pleasing to us.
The first thing you need to notice is that both versions really mean the same thing. They
are merely different expressions of the same idea.
Idea: My feelings with regard to the book are positive.
English Way: I like the book.
Spanish Way: The book is pleasing to me.
The second thing to notice is that in English, the subject of the sentence is the person (I,
we) while in Spanish the subject of the sentence is the object (room, books).
The room is pleasing to me.
Subject: The room
I like the room.
Subject: I
Finally notice that while the English sentence has a direct object, the Spanish sentence
has an indirect object.
The room is pleasing to me.
me = Indirect Object
I like the room.
room = Direct Object
Let's study the following example:
Me gustan los libros.
Literal Translation: To me are pleasing the books.
Actual Translation: I like the books.

Notice that gustar is conjugated as "gustan" not "gusto." A common mistake is to say
"Me gusto los libros." This is incorrect because the subject of the sentence is "los libros"
even though it comes at the end. Remember, the verb is conjugated to agree with the
subject of the sentence.
Me gustan los libros. (I like the books.)
Notice that the conjugation of gustar changes to "gusta" when the subject of the
sentence is singular.
Me gusta el libro. (I like the book.)
Since the subject of the sentence must be either singular (book) or plural (books), the
only forms of gustar you will use are "gusta" and "gustan." This is true regardless of
what IO pronoun appears in the sentence.
Me gusta el libro.
I like the book.
Te gusta el libro.
You like the book.
Nos gusta el libro.
We like the book.
Me gustan los libros.
I like the books.
Te gustan los libros.
You like the books.
Nos gustan los libros.
We like the books.
Remember, gustar becomes either gusta or gustan, depending upon whether the subject
of the sentence is singular or plural. It has nothing to do with which IO pronoun is used.
Subject is singular - use gusta
Me gusta el libro.
Te gusta el libro.
Subject is plural - use gustan
Me gustan los libros.
Te gustan los libros.
Remember, the IO pronoun is not the subject of the sentence!

Nos gustamos ... incorrect!


Te gustas ... incorrect!
Here are some examples of the correct use of gustar. Notice that the only forms of
gustar that appear are gusta and gustan, even though each of the IO pronouns is used.
Singular Subject
Me gusta la casa.
Te gusta el cuarto.
Le gusta la silla.
Nos gusta el hotel.
Os gusta la comida.
Les gusta el reloj.

Plural Subject
Me gustan las casas.
Te gustan los cuartos.
Le gustan las sillas.
Nos gustan los hoteles.
Os gustan las comidas.
Les gustan los relojes.

Look more closely at one example:


Le gusta la silla.
It is impossible to tell whether this means:
1. He likes the chair.
2. She likes the chair.
3. You (usted) like the chair.
For purposes of clarification, the sentence will often begin with a prepositional phrase
that clarifies just who the IO pronoun refers to.
A l le gusta la silla.
He likes the chair.
A Juan le gusta la silla.
John likes the chair.
A ella le gusta la silla.
She likes the chair.
A Mara le gusta la silla.
Mary likes the chair.
A usted le gusta la silla.
You (formal) like the chair.
As you can see, by adding a prepositional phrase, we remove the ambiguity of the "le"
form.
You can also use a prepositional phrase to add emphasis, even if there is no ambiguity.

1. A Juan le gusta el caf.


John likes coffee.
2. A m me gusta el t.
I like tea.
In the first example, "a Juan" clarifies the ambiguous pronoun "le." In the second
example, there is no ambiguity. "Me gusta el t" can only mean "I like tea." In this case,
"a m" adds emphasis, drawing attention to the fact that tea is what I like (as contrasted
with what Juan likes).
Another way to look at it:
John likes coffee. Me, I like tea.
A Juan le gusta el caf. A m me gusta el t.
Now that you know how to correctly use the verb gustar, here is a list of verbs that
operate in the same manner:
aburrir
to bore
fascinar
to be fascinating to
bastar
to be sufficient
importar
to be important to
caer bien (mal)
to (not) suit
interesar
to be interesting to
dar asco
to be loathsome
molestar
to be a bother
disgustar
to hate something
parecer
to appear to be
doler (o:ue)
to be painful
picar
to itch
encantar
to "love" something
quedar
to be left over, remain
faltar
to be lacking something
volver (o:ue) loco

to be crazy about
The practice exercises focus on 5 useful verbs:
gustar
faltar
molestar
parecer
disgustar
Note that all of the other verbs listed above behave in the same fashion as the five
practice verbs.
Let's add a flashcard for the special verb "gustar":

A. Select the correct form of gustar.


1. Me___________ la comida.
I like the food.
2. Te ___________las pinturas.
You like the paintings.

B. Select the correct form of faltar.


3. Me ___________el dinero para comprar el anillo.
I'm lacking the money to buy the ring.
4. Nos ___________el dinero para comprar los boletos.
We're lacking the money to buy the tickets.

C. Select the correct form of disgustar.


5. Les___________ los deportes.
They hate sports.
6. Les ___________la televisin.
They hate television.

D. Select the correct form of parecer.


7. La pelcula me ___________bien.
The movie seems good to me.
8. La casa nos ___________cara.
The house seems expensive to us.

E. Select the correct form of molestar.


9. A veces la humedad le___________ .
Sometimes, the humidity bothers her.
10. Los borrachos me ___________en la calle.
The drunks bother me in the street.