What is the correct way to diagram the verb gustar?

As I understand it, in translation the dative Me often operates as the subject of the sentence — I like the apples — but may be literally translated as The apple is pleasing to me.

Would the following, then, be the appropriate way to diagram this sentence?

Me gusta la manzana

Further, would this then be the correct way to diagram ¿Adónde te gustaría viajar?

¿Adónde te gustaría viajar?

I appreciate any input and please let me know if my understanding of this is in some way faulty.

  • 1
    Maybe you need to explain a little bit further the concept of diagram. By seeing your examples I don't know if the diagram is wrong or if it is just not intuitive to read.
    – Diego
    Feb 12, 2019 at 15:24
  • 1
    I realize this may be a particularly niche question; sentence diagramming is used as an aid in learning the grammatical structure of languages. I know that it is used with languages as Latin, German, Greek, and English, and, so far as I have seen, to a lesser extent in Spanish. Examples may be seen here - german-latin-english.com/diagrams.htm
    – QMord
    Feb 12, 2019 at 17:19
  • It is just a particular method of syntactical analysis similar to "árboles sintácticos" used in x-bar theory.
    – QMord
    Feb 12, 2019 at 17:34
  • Just for your information, in Spain we don't use those diagrams when we learn Language. Probably each teacher got his own way of representing the sintactic analysis. So it's difficult to validate yours. If you indicate what are the different parts of the sentence in your opinion, maybe you'll get better help.
    – RubioRic
    Feb 13, 2019 at 7:38

2 Answers 2


Thanks to rsanchez's comment who pointed out a mistake in my answer!

In your example Me gustan las manzanas (I like apples), Las manzanas is the subject, gustan is the verb (third person plural), and the indirect object is Me, i.e. Yo:


  • 4
    En este caso Me es objeto indirecto. gustar es intransitivo en esta acepción.
    – rsanchez
    Feb 13, 2019 at 2:59
  • 1
    And "me" means "a mí/to me" and not "yo".
    – RubioRic
    Feb 13, 2019 at 7:35
  • @RubioRic me es la forma átona de Yo. Saludos.
    – prm296
    Feb 13, 2019 at 19:04
  • @rsanchez gracias por la observación. En breve corrijo la respuesta
    – prm296
    Feb 13, 2019 at 19:05
  • Hey prm296, I appreciate your answer; do you, then, think that the diagram for gustaría is correct?
    – QMord
    Feb 14, 2019 at 14:11

If the sentence above is diagrammed correctly, then it says "The apples like me."

"Me" is doing something: liking apples. "Las manzanas" are being acted upon as objects: they are liked. They are absolutely not the subject and "Me" is not the indirect object.

"Me" is the subject, "gustan" is the verb, and "las manzanas" is the direct object because it receives the action of the verb.

diagram: enter image description here

(English Professor, 20+ years)

  • 2
    "Las manzanas" is the subject, and "me" is the indirect object. The structure is equivalent to "the apples please me", where "the apples" is the subject, even though the apples are not "doing anything". This question is about the Spanish verb "gustar", and not about the English verb "like", which works in a different way.
    – wimi
    Jan 5, 2021 at 19:32
  • 1
    For reference, see here.
    – wimi
    Jan 5, 2021 at 19:39

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