Using verbs like GUSTAR in Spanish

Today post is about how we express what things we like and do not like and other verbs like gustar in Spanish. From the very first lessons in your Spanish learning you study the verb GUSTAR, but why is so special that we dedicate a whole post? Well, Spanish verb GUSTAR is conjugated differently than other regular -ar verbs. It is not conjugated in relation with the direct object, that works as a subject in the sentence. (Don’t panic!) 🙂 That means in Spanish the verb GUSTAR depends on “what you like” and not on the person who likes.

So there is only two possible conjugations for gustar when we talk about things we like: singular o plural. Examples:

– Me gusta el verano.

– Me gustan las playas.

This is a painting of Sorolla, one of the best Impressionist painters in Spain.

Instead of thinking in GUSTAR as “I like this or that…” we have to get it more like “something is pleasing to me”. So “el verano” and “las playas” which are apparently direct objects in the sentence, are in fact the subjects. To here everything is easy, right?

Lets go for the next step. What is “ME” in those sentences? Well, me is an indirect object pronoun referred to myself (in this case “me” is first person in Spanish). In sentences with Gustar and other verbs that works like it, people who apparently are the subjects are in fact the Indirect object. Again understanding verb GUSTAR as “something is pleasing to someone”. Lets see a box that help us to understand this point:


Please do not mix up these Indirect Object Pronouns with the Reflexive Pronouns like “ella se levanta” (she wakes up).

An example of short dialogues:

– A mí me gustan las playas del norte de España. ¿Y a ti?
– A mí también, ¡me encanta el verano!

– A nosotros nos gusta la montaña. ¿Y a vosotros?
Nos gustan los Pirineos y las playas del sur. 

As we see in these dialogues, first column of the box it is only used when we want to emphasise the Indirect Objects. But with the pronouns is enough. 🙂

When the thing liked is not a thing but an action we use always singular:

Me gusta comer en España.

Nos gusta estudiar idiomas.

Other verbs that works like “gustar”

As you can see in the box, there are many verbs that works like verb GUSTAR:

Encantar: To love something
¡Me encanta el verano!
Interesar:  To be interested in something
Me interesan los deportes.
Parecer interesante: To find something interesting
Me parece interesante la acupuntura. 

We like July and summer is for languages! If you like this post subscribe to our mailing list scrolling down the HOME page where you can find a simple subscribe box. Are you reading this lying in a hammock of your bungalow? 🙂 Don’t miss the opportunity to learn Spanish everywhere… even during your holidays! 🙂

Happy summer to everyone.

¡Feliz verano!

SIELE: the new Spanish exam

Last week Spain’s Cervantes Institute, University of Mexico and University of Salamanca jointly launched the new SIELE exam (International Service for Evaluation of the Spanish Language).

Students of Spanish as a foreign language have now a new globally recognized test to certify their level of fluency in Spanish: SIELE, electronic and only exam. It will be similar to American TOEFL or British IETLS. There will be four sections (Reading, Speaking, Writing and Listening) and students may choose whether to take the complete exam or to break it up by sections.

The only Spanish language proficiency certificate will be available for the whole planet, but effort is going to be focused on Brazil, China and United States, as they have the largest number of Spanish students in the world.

Changes from DELE exams
  1. SIELE is an electronic and online test. Applicants will be able to take the exam from anywhere on the planet. Results will be ready three weeks after taking the examination.
  2. Applicants may choose whether to take the complete exam or by sections.
  3. Listening and reading comprehension will have the results automatically online. The other two: speaking and writing will be evaluated by accredited experts.
  4. SIELE is not a test that you fail or pass. You get a score within a scale from 0 to 1000, equivalent to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
  5. Applicants will get a two years expiration date certificate.
  6. SIELE has a pan-Hispanic approach, attending all the distinct linguistic varieties of Spanish.

This is not about if we like the new Spanish exam SIELE or not, it is about it will be the new Spanish language certificate and we have to adapt to it both, teachers and students.

Any further information you need about SIELE you can ask me here. You can also ask me about actual Spanish examination: DELE.

See you soon amigos!

Read this article in Spanish here!

10 tips to Introduce yourself in Spanish!

Imagine your first day in a Spanish class or the first time you meet a Spanish speaker… You will be asking each other about names, professions, age (not always!) and a few basic questions about yourselves. Also it is useful when you face situations in a foreign country. Remember… trying to speak with the locals is the best way to learn a new language!

Here there are some tips to introduce yourself in Spanish:

Start your chat with a proper greeting: buenos días, buenas tardes, buenas noches. In Spain we say Buenos días till 13:00pm more or less, then we say Buenas tardes from 14:00pm and from 20:00 or 21:00 pm we say Buenas noches (not only for going to sleep).
saludos en español2. WHAT’S YOUR NAME? Introduce yourselves with verb LLAMARSE or verb SER.
In Spanish we use either “llamarse” or “ser” to introduce ourselves.

  • ¿Cómo te llamas?
       What’s your name?
  • Me llamo Julia. ¿Y tú? // Yo soy Julia, ¿y tú?
       My name is Julia, and yours? // I am Julia, and you?
  • Yo me llamo Claudia. // Yo soy Claudia.
       My name is Claudia. // I am Claudia.

In Spanish we use also the verb SER (To be) to ask about the birthplace.

  • ¿De dónde eres?
    Where are you from?
  • Yo soy española, ¿y tú? // Soy de España.
    I am Spanish, and you? // I am from Spain.


  • ¿En qué trabajas?
    What is your job?
  • Soy profesora de español, ¿y tú?
    I am Spanish teacher, and you?

5. HOW OLD ARE YOU? With verb TENER:
Be careful because sometimes is rude to ask this question, but you will see in which situations you can do it naturally. Anyway I give you this information because it is a basic question when you meet someone and it might be useful for your learning. We use verb TENER to speak about age:

  • ¿Cuántos años tienes?
    How old are you?
  • Tengo 32 años, ¿y tú?
    I am 32 years old, and you?

When we don’t understand something there is an easy way to say it:

  • Perdona, no entiendo.
    Excuse me, I don’t understand.

You see a heard a word and you don’t know the meaning? Don’t be shy and ask for it! It is easy and you will show interest and motivation.

  • ¿Qué significa “vale”?
    What does “vale” mean?


  • Yo creo que “vale” significa “OK”.
    I think “vale” means “OK”.


  • ¿Dónde está el baño, por favor?
    Where is the toilet please?


  • “Presentarse” and “llamarse” are pronominal verbs because we are introducing ourselves and without the pronoun “SE” at the end of the word these verbs will have different meanings.

Here in the drawing you have some sentences for the first day of class. To speak with me or with your colleagues in the classroom you can use the examples below:


Do you want to learn more about presentations? Check verbo SER post!

Adjetivos posesivos en español

Los adjetivos posesivos se utilizan para indicar la propiedad de algo o alguien (en el caso de los parentescos, por ejemplo). En total hay cinco adjetivos posesivos en español: mi, tu, su, nuestro, vuestro. En los tres primeros casos tienen formas en singular y plural, dependiendo del nombre que modifican (mi libro / mis libros), es decir, el singular o plural depende de lo poseído, no del poseedor. Estos tres no tienen formas masculinas o femeninas, se escriben igual independientemente del género de los nombres que modifican (mis amigas / mis amigos).

Possessive adjectives are used to show ownership. There are five in total: mi, tu, su, nuestro, vuestro. First three adjectives (mi, tu, su) they have both singular and plural forms, agree with the noun they modify (they agree with the thing possessed, not the possessor). So: mi libro / mis libros. This three stay the same, regardless of the possessor’s gender. They don’t have masculine or feminine forms (mis amigas / mis amigos).

mi / mis mean me
tu / tus mean your
su / sus have four meanings: his, her, their, your (formal)

Los otros dos adjetivos, nuestro y vuestro, tienen cuatro formas dependiendo de los poseedores y de los objetos poseídos. Por ejemplo:

Nuestro padre (our dad)

Nuestros padres (our parents)

Nuestra escuela (our school)

Nuestras vacaciones (our holidays)

nuestro / nuestra, nuestros / nuestras mean our
vuestro / vuestra, vuestros / vuestras mean your (familiar, plural)

Leer más … Pronombres posesivos
Read more … Possessive Pronouns

Los verbos en español: estructura


Para comprender cómo funcionan los verbos en español, presentamos este gráfico con la estructura básica. Aquí podrás ver qué es la persona, el modo, las formas no personales, los tiempos simples y compuestos, etc.
Iremos profundizando en cada uno de ellos en futuras entradas.

This drawing will help you to understand Spanish verbs’ basic structure. Here you can find what is a person, a mode, a non personal form, etc. We will go deeply in future posts.


Las horas en español: ¿Qué hora es?

Para decir la hora en español utilizamos el verbo SER, en singular para la 1 y en plural para el resto de horas.
Telling the time in Spanish we use the verb SER in both singular and plural forms:

  • Pregunta informal: ¿Qué hora es?
    – (13:20) Es la una y veinte.
    – (18:30) Son las seis y media.

  • Pregunta informal: ¿Me puede decir la hora por favor?



Descripción física de personas

Para la descripción física de personas en español utilizamos los verbos SER, TENER y LLEVAR, dependiendo de qué característica estamos describiendo.
The language for physical descriptions in Spanish is quite specific depending on the physical characteristic you are describing, using the verbs: SER, TENER and LLEVAR.

VERBO SER para: altura, peso, edad, color de pelo, apariencia
We use verb SER for: height, weight, skin and hair 
color, appearance

alto/a, bajo/a,

delgado/a, gordo/a (o gordito/a), fuerte, grande

joven, mayor (viejo puede ser ofensivo)

rubio, moreno, pelirrojo, castaño…

guapo/a, atractivo/a

VERBO TENER para: características de la cara y del pelo
We use verb TENER for: facial features and other features

ojos grandes, pequeños, azules, verdes, marrones, grandes, pequeños,…

la piel morena, blanca…

barba, perilla



el pelo negro, rubio, castaño, rizado, liso, corto, largo

la boca grande, pequeña

la nariz grande, pequeña

VERBO LLEVAR para: características temporales o peinados
We use verb LLEVAR for: temporally facial features or hair styles

barba, perilla





sombrero, boina, gorra

pendientes, collar, …



Para describir a las personas del tablero hablamos en 3ª persona: los verbos están en 3ª persona singular.
We use third-person singular to describe people on the picture above: verbs are in 3th person singular.

Ana es morena y tiene el pelo corto. Lleva pendientes verdes.

Ricardo es calvo y tiene barba.

Clare es pelirroja. Lleva gafas y sombrero.

Carlos es rubio y tiene bigote.

Tomás es calvo y lleva gafas.

Susana tiene el pelo largo y blanco. Tiene la boca grande.

Bernardo tiene la nariz grande y la boca pequeña. Lleva un sombrero rojo.

Guillermo es gordito, pelirrojo y tiene perilla.

¿Puedes describir ahora a Pepe, Paco y Anita? Envíame tu respuesta por email y podré ayudarte con los resultados.

Expresar deseos: Querer + Infinitivo

Tanto para expresar deseos inmediatos como para hablar de cosas que quieres hacer en el futuro utilizamos las siguientes expresiones con el verbo querer + infinitivo.
Either to express immediate wishes or to speak about future intentions or plans we use expressions formed by ‘querer’ verb + infinitive as follows:

• (yo) Quiero + infinitivo
I want to …

Quiero* viajar por Sudamérica. (I want to travel around South America)
Quiero aprender español. (I want to learn Spanish)
Quiero comer pescado esta noche. (I want to eat fish tonight)

*normally in Spanish we don’t use “yo” and other personal pronouns preceding the verb. Verbs are already conjugated and the person Implicitly represented. So it is not grammatically wrong but there is no need to use them unless you want to emphasize something.

Para profundizar:
To go in depth:

Si quieres profundizar más, aquí tienes otras expresiones para hablar de deseos, esta vez con un nivel de español algo más alto:
To go in depth, here you have some other expressions to tell same things based on a higher level of Spanish:

• (a mí) Me gustaría + infinitivo
I would like to …

Me gustaría ir de compras esta semana. (I would like to go shopping this week)
Me gustaría viajar a Japón. (I would like to visit Japan)
Me gustaría tomar un helado. (I would like to have an ice-cream)

• (yo) Tengo ganas de + infinitivo
I’m looking forward to …

Tengo muchas ganas de ver a mis padres. (I’m looking forward to seeing my parents)
Tienes ganas ir a España, ¿no?  (You are looking forward to going to Spain, aren’t you?)
Tenemos ganas de comer tortilla de patatas. (We are looking forward to having spanish omelette)



Hablar de motivos: por, para, porque

To give reasons of why we want to do something, we will use these words: PARA, POR, PORQUE.
Para dar motivos o razones por las que hacemos algo, utilizaremos las palabras: PARA, POR y PORQUE.

Como puedes ver más abajo, utilizaremos distintas palabras (por, para, porque…) dependiendo de qué tipo de palabra sigue a éstas.

As you can see below, we will use different words to give reasons (por, para, porque…), depending on which kind of word is following them.

¿Por qué* + verbo conjugado…? (conjugated verb)
¿Por qué estudias español? (Why do you study Spanish?)

Porque + verbo conjugado (conjugated verb)
Porque quiero vivir en Cuba. (Because I want to live in Cuba)

Para + infinitivo (infinitive)
Para viajar por Sudamérica. (To travel around South America)

Por + sustantivo (noun)
Por mi trabajo. (Because of my job)

*En español separamos esta palabra cuando se trata de preguntas. In Spanish we separate these two words when the sentence is a question.

¡Vamos a practicar!
Une las frases de la derecha con las palabras de la izquierda para formar frases con sentido.
Si quieres puedo ayudarte a comprobar tus resultados por correo electrónico.

Let’s practice!
Match the sentences below with the proper word on the left to make sense:
Send me your answers by email if you need help to check your results.


Verbo SER: introducción

El verbo SER es uno de los principales verbos irregulares en español. Aquí puedes ver cómo conjugar el presente de indicativo y algunos de sus usos básicos. Si es tu primer contacto con el verbo, puedes intentar presentarte con algunas expresiones de los ejemplos.

This is one of the first irregular verbs you are going to face in your Spanish learning. Here you have how to conjugate present tense and some basic uses to start playing with this verb, even if it’s your first contact with it, you could introduce yourself to the others in a basic introducing conversation.


Usos básicos del verbo SER / Basic uses of the verb SER*:

1.  IDENTIFICAR A UNA PERSONA / Identifying a person:

Ella es Carmen y él es Carlos. (She is Carmen and he is Carlos)
Yo soy Julia. (I am Julia)
¿Quién es él? (Who is him?)

2.  PROFESIÓN / Profession:

Mi padre es médico. (My father is a doctor)
Nosotros somos periodistas. (We are reporters)
Él es pintor. (He is a painter)

3.  NACIONALIDAD / Nationality /origin:

Luis es de Barcelona. (Luis is from Barcelona)
Ellas son argentinas. (They [female] are Argentinian)
Pablo Picasso es español. (Pablo Picasso is Spanish)

4.  DESCRIPCIÓN DE PERSONAS Y COSAS / Describing people and things:

Mis padres son Carmen y Carlos. (My parents are Carmen and Carlos)
La clase de literatura es interesante. (The literature class is interesting)
Su cuadro más famoso es el Guernica. (His most famous painting is Guernica)

5.  POSESIÓN / Possessions:

Las gafas son de Juan. (The glasses are Juan’s)
El perro es de ella. (The dog is hers)
Ése es un cuadro de Picasso. (That one is one of Picasso’s paintings)


*Veremos más usos del verbo SER en futuras entradas. (We will see more uses of the verb SER in future posts)