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When I thought I finally had it figured out... I was confronted with the following phrase which obviously must mean:

I liked the story of your friend.

Which for me logically translates to.

me gusta la historia de tu amigo.

But she wrote:

La historia de tu amigo me gustó.

Which means the subject us "yo" (yo gustó) and the object is "La historia de tu amigo". Making the translation as following:

I please the story of your friend

The story of your friend likes me.

I thought after much practise I finally starting to understand the verb "gustar" by translating it in my hand as "to please" instead of "to like", as this verb also has the subject/object role reversed.

me gusta > I like... subject.

me gustas > I liker you.

me gustan > I like... subjects (plural)

le gusto > he/she likes me.

gusto a la chica > the girl likes me.

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I think your misunderstanding here is that gustó is not first-person present ("I please"), it's third-person preterite ("it pleased"). La historia me gustó means "I liked the story." The accent mark makes all the difference! –  jrdioko Mar 1 '12 at 17:57
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1 Answer

up vote 8 down vote accepted

In Spanish the subject is not placed always in front of the verb. So you can say:

Me gusta la historia de tu amigo

La historia de tu amigo me gusta.

or in the past

La historia de tu amigo me gustó.

Me gustó la historia de tu amigo.

and in the four sentences the subject of the sentence is "la historia de tu amigo".

Don't get confused with English. In English the translation doesn't have the same subject as in Spanish

I like apples --> The Subject is "I"

Las manzanas me gustan (a mi) --> The Subject is "las manzanas"

(a mi) Me gustan las manzanas --> The Subject is "las manzanas"

Note that the verb agrees with the subject so if I like only one apple I would say:

Me gusta esa manzana --> The Subject is "esa manzana" (is 3rd person singular so the verb is also 3rd person singular)

As you say you can use "the rule" that gustar is used in a similar way as "to please" in English so it would be:

Apples pleases me

in this case the subject is the same in the translation.

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I only knew me gustaba and ha gustado. It makes complete sense now. Me gustó is also past, 3rd person. Gustó is not the same as gusto. –  ujjain Mar 1 '12 at 17:54
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@chronoz yeah "gusto" and "gustó" are very different, for that reason accent marks are important in Spanish. –  Javi Mar 1 '12 at 17:58
    
+1 Great answer @Javi –  César Mar 1 '12 at 19:46
    
Unless you're just learning Spanish you will have no trouble knowing the difference even with the accents missing. For instance "me gusto" means "I like myself" which is unlikely. –  hippietrail Mar 1 '12 at 20:26
    
@hippietrail Strictly speaking, you are correct. But do you really want to encourage sloppiness? –  Michael Wolf Mar 27 '12 at 15:56
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