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We have been taught that gustar is an unusual verb and that you only ever use gusta or gustan depending on whether you like singular or plural things. Would you use "me gustas" to say "I like you"?

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Note that in at least some dialects of Spanish as it is spoken (as opposed to Spanish as the academies say it should be spoken) gustar is used as like - e.g. ¿Gustas el café?. –  Peter Taylor Jan 6 '12 at 12:38
It's always right when you like someone but not something (i.e. "I like it" it's not "Me gustas" but "Me gusta") –  César Jan 7 '12 at 15:42
@César: Actually you could use me gustas with anything you address. So yes usually a person but also could involve personification of say a pet or robot but perhaps even inanimate objects on objects on occasion, in which case it would be just as quirky as in English telling your car or computer that you like it. –  hippietrail Jan 8 '12 at 9:55
@David: Look no further than the famous Manu Chao song, Me Gustas Tú! –  hippietrail Jan 8 '12 at 10:00
gustar is not unusual at all. It's almost equivalent to the verb like. And me gustas is correct and very common, I've actually told me gustas to many girls ;-) –  Petruza Jan 10 '12 at 1:58

5 Answers 5

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Yes, me gustas is correct way to say this.

Gustar is "unusual" in the way that it doesn't mean "to like", but rather "to be liked by". "to please"

It's absolutely not true that you only ever use gusta or gustan.

Consider few examples for each grammatical person:

Ya no te gusto — You don't like me anymore

Me gustas — I like you

Me gusta España — I like Spain

Sé que os gustamos — I know that you like us

No me gustáis — I don't like you (plural)

No me gustan los toros — I don't like bullfighting

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I should probably have said "normally only use". Thanks for your quick response. –  David Pashley Jan 6 '12 at 11:28
Even in normal common usage it's not limited to these two cases. –  vartec Jan 6 '12 at 11:29
I would say gustar is only unusual when compared to English to like. Taken on its own it's perfectly usual. After all English to please works the same way and we wouldn't say it is unusual. –  hippietrail Jan 8 '12 at 9:57

As @vartec said, me gustas is correct. A great way to think about gustar in English is to imagine a word gust that means the opposite of disgust. Just like you would say that person disgusts me, with this imaginary word gust, you would say that person gusts me, meaning he or she pleases you, the opposite of disgust.

Or, for the case is question, you gust me, which would then translate back to me gustas.

Read more here.

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+1 interesting indeed! –  Joze Feb 10 '12 at 11:55
You beat me to it.… –  Cayetano Gonçalves Feb 13 '12 at 4:54

A remark besides the grammar. I'm not very sure what you mean exactly with I like you in english (from a person to another). But in spanish, if you say me gustas is in a more-than-friends sense. In a just-as-friends context, it's better to use me caes bien or me agradas. I think me gustas is more like I have a little crush on you. Be careful with that.

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Totally agree +1. –  Alfredo Osorio Feb 10 '12 at 14:30
Great point! +1 –  Jacobo de Vera Feb 10 '12 at 16:21

No, it is not correct. At least not grammatically correct. While it may be accepted in casual conversation, gustar is conjugated with either a singular or a plural ending. The person is not doing the action, rather represents a single noun that has an effect on a person. ie. Juan a mí me gusta. or Tû a mí me gusta. In this case, the subject pronoun 'you' is not doing the action, therefore the second person tense is not employed. Rather, another item, a singular noun, which happens to be a person, is having an effect on a person. It's comparable to saying that person makes me .... If you require more explanation, look in 501 verbs. It's a great resource. Thanks. Buena suerte.

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"Me gustas" is perfectly valid. You could say "A mi me gusta Juan" (native speakers would favor that structure over "Juan a mí me gusta"). If you were talking to Juan then you could tell him "Me gustas, Juan". "Tû a mí me gusta" is incorrect. Conjugation should be "gustas". –  Diego Apr 23 at 0:46
In addition to what @Diego said, there are some terminology issues here. There are no conjugations that aren't singular or plural, so to imply a verb can "only" be conjugated in singular/plural says only that it's not a defective verb. Subject pronouns don't do actions, just the subjects. There is no "second person tense", tenses indicate temporality, being second person (of which there are 4-5 conjugations for gustar in each tense). –  guifa Apr 23 at 1:25
Also, when I say "algo me gusta", that thing is doing the action — it just happens the most adequate translation into English switches the roles. Both languages have ways of structuring utterances such that the liked thing is subject or object: I like something, something pleases me, me gusta algo, prefiero algo (or even gusto de algo) –  guifa Apr 23 at 1:26

The other answers have focused on using gustar in the structure that it's normally taught in Spanish classes where *gustar takes an indirect object pronoun. While the most common use is absolutely either gusta or gustan (see this Google N-Gram, I omitted valid forms that weren't found so I could fit it all in a single search), the other forms, as you can see, are certainly used.

There is also another way to use gustar that mirrors the English construction a bit more closely (and is identical to modern Portuguese), although it will come off very formal in modern Spanish. See the comparison:

  • I like pizza a lot.
    Me gusta mucho la pizza. (standard)
    Gusto mucho de pizza. (alternate)
  • We like to read.
    Nos gusta leer.
    Gustamos de leer.
  • You're into me.
    Te gusto.
    Gustas de mí.

To use this structure, you use gustar with the same subject you would in the English statement, and follow it with the preposition de. The thing that is liked is the object of that preposition.

Finally, gustar can be used to mean like/wish/want/prefer and in this case it is actually a transitive verb, as in ¿Gusta Vd. un vino tinto? (would you like a red wine?) or Haz como gustes (do as you will/wish). This usage is very rare outside of, well, basically the two phrases (with minimal variation for subject/object) I gave ;-)

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