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Is saying me agrada for 'I like' the same as saying me gusta?

What is the difference in colloquial speech?

8

Both have the same meaning and RAE indicates they are synonyms.

However, "me agrada" is not used very much in colloquial speech, at least in Spain. It does not sound natural to say it.

agradar

De grado.

  1. intr. Complacer, contentar, gustar.
3
  • gracias. I normally use 'me gusta' for 'I like/love..' and had never heard 'me agrada'. You have answered my question, it is not much used in Spain. thank you. Dec 18 '15 at 16:54
  • @fedorqui you speak Catalan though, right? Isn't that the more common term in that language? Dec 20 '15 at 20:16
  • 2
    @guifa yes, in Catalan the exact, direct translation of Spanish's "me gusta" is "m'agrada". Dec 21 '15 at 9:50
7

As a native Spanish speaker, I use 'me agrada' when referring to pleasantness, as to convey a good sensation or emotion with no deeper emphasis, a bit more formal, so to speak. For example, 'Me agrada su perfume' conveys that I find someone's perfume pleasant in a polite, measured way.

'Me gusta su perfume' translates to a stronger emotion of joy and liking. As if the perfume is good enough to potentially imply other deeper feelings.

6

This is just an opinion from a native Spanish speaker, but I'd say the difference is pretty much the same as English be liked (gustar) and please (agradar). Personally, if someone tells me something flattering like 'you are smart', 'you look cute today', 'you're the funnest girl I know', or such, I could reply:

  • Me gusta que me digas eso.

Or...

  • Me agrada que me digas eso.

Although I don't really feel I would be saying exactly the same thing: in the first case I would be just saying that I like to be told that, whereas in the second case I feel I would be saying something slightly closer to 'I'm flattered'. BTW, I would never say the first sentence as a reply for a compliment, while the second one is a pretty common thing to hear.

Moreover, gustar may have romantic connotations, while agradar never has anything to do with romantic love. This can be seen in the expression intentar agradar a alguien, meaning "deliberately trying to get someone to like you (without romantic implications)". I could give a friend a piece of advice by telling her: 'intenta agradar a tu jefe elogiando sus decisiones'. If I said 'intenta gustar a tu jefe' I feel I could be misunderstood as telling her to flirt with him. That confusion is unlikely to occur because of context though, but you can always opt for 'agradar' in case of doubt.

Besides those two observations, I'd say they mean pretty much the same.

P.S. If I have made any grammar/vocabulary mistake in English, don't hesitate pointing it out: I'm learning too!

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I never heard anybody say "me agrada" when I was living in Chile. Go for "me gusta" to express "I like it" can't go wrong in most situations.

1

"Me agrada" Is used more on Mexican Spanish, but "Me gusta" is used more on Spain's Spanish. colloquially speaking, it's the same.

3
  • what do you mean by "normal Spanish"?
    – DGaleano
    Aug 31 '17 at 14:17
  • @DGaleano Spanish used in Spain.
    – AlexINF
    Sep 1 '17 at 13:26
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    Ah. It is good to know becase Spain is 46 million people while Mexico is 127 and hispanoamerica is around 400 million so "normal Spanish" is kind of saying "what MOST people talk" and that would not be Spain.
    – DGaleano
    Sep 1 '17 at 15:50
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Even though it is true that we rather use 'me gusta', both could be traduced as 'I like'. Whenever 'me agrada' is used, it is because we want to emphasize how good that thing makes us feel. Although it emphasizes that feeling of liking something, it is not a more or less powerful 'I like' than 'me gusta'.

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