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Why should I say “me va a gustar” if asking am I going to like it instead of “me voy a gustar”?

Google translates the first as I mentioned and me voy a gustar as I’m going to like it. Can I use either with appropriate intonation or are they not interchangeable?

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Gustar is special kind of verb (there is a good handful of others that work the same).

The best way to think of it is: [something] is pleasing to me. The [something] is the subject of the verb, and the person to whom it is pleasing is the object.

The direct object pronouns are me, te, le, nos, os, les.

In the verbal periphrase ir a [infinitivo], the verb ir is conjugated with the same subject as the main verb, the infinitive, would be.

In the phrase Te gusta el pollo frito, the subject is el pollo frito. Word for word, it's like "to you is pleasing fried chicken".

If we say the same phrase in the future, el pollo frito will still be the subject, giving: Te va a gustar el pollo frito.

The person who likes the thing is always expressed with the direct object pronoun and the thing being liked is always the subject, meaning that gustar is always conjugated in the third person when the thing being liked is an inanimate object.

(Yo) me voy a gustar means "I will like myself"

me gustas = I like you (*you to me are pleasing) // me vas a gustar = I will like you

Yo te gusto = You like me // Yo te voy a gustar = You will like me

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The subject of the verb gustar is the thing that is liked, not the person that feels the liking.

I think the confusion stems from the fact that you are involving a verbal periphrasis, i.e. ir a + infinitive, which is used for the future. Go back one step. If you want to say “I like it”, the simplest way is “Me gusta” (this is the present simple tense). The subject is the thing (“it”) that you like. The indirect object is the person who does the liking (“I”), in the form that corresponds to an indirect object: me.

The verb gusta is in the third person singular, because it has to agree with its subject, and its subject is an unspecified “it”. In Spanish you can drop the subject pronoun when unneeded, so you do that. If you wanted to be specific, you could say Eso me gusta” (“I like that”). Often, with gustar, the subject goes after the verb: “Me gusta eso”. You can replace eso with a noun phrase: “Me gusta la pizza de tomate”. And so on.

If you change the tense, the verb changes but is still third person. In the preterite you say “Me gustó”, in the imperfect “Me gustaba”, etc. Now, if you want to use the ir a + infinitive construction for the future, gustar will be the infinitive but the conjugation is the same, now shifted to the auxiliary verb ir. So gusta (3rd person singular, present tense) will become va a gustar (with va = ir in the 3rd person singular).

“Me voy a gustar” is wrong (for this meaning) because voy implies yo: it's a 1st person singular verb. This is not what you want, unless you mean “I'm going to like myself”. The “I” in the English sentence is the 1st person singular implied in the conjugation of voy.

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    I agree that could cause confusion. In fact, I put/entered [Me voY a gustar, me vA a gustar, me vaS a gustar, me vaN a gustar] into Google Translate to see what it would come up with and was translated to the following: [I'm going to like it, I'm going to like it, I'm going to like it, I'm going to like it] so it shouldn't be trusted.
    – cocteau
    Sep 10 at 23:21
  • @cocteau I've found that Google Translate is fine for well-structured longish sentences and even better for whole paragraphs. It's really not good for smaller sentences or phrases because lack of context confuses it. If you add some filler to those bits you fed it, it gives more acceptable results (although Me voy a gustar puzzles it still).
    – pablodf76
    Sep 11 at 13:40
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The direct object is the person(s) or thing(s) that receive the action of the verb. When the verb "ir" is conjugated in the 3rd person present ("va") and it's accompanied by the pronoun "me" the direct object is another person or thing.

  • "Me va a gustar" means that you think there's something/someone you're going to like. ¿Qué me va a gustar? R. Esto/Eso/Ella/Él/Esa cosa.

But instead the indirect object indicates who is the receiver of the consequences of the verb.

  • "No le(s) voy a gustar" means you think not everyone will like you or that someone won't like you. ¿A quién no le/les voy a gustar? R. A él/ella/ellos.

So when the verb "ir" is conjugated with the 1st person present ("voy") accompanied by the pronoun "me," then that person is the subject of the action.

  • "No me gusto" means you think you're not happy with yourself. Another way of saying this is: "No me agrado/No estoy conforme conmigo mismo/a". ¿A quién no le gusto? R. A mí mismo/misma.

  • "No me voy a gustar" means you think you're not going to be okay with yourself. It would be better to say: "No me voy a reconocer/No voy a poder mirarme a la cara". ¿A quién no voy a poder mirar al espejo si lo hago? R. A mí mismo/misma.

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  • Thanks. I’m sort of ok with the direct object pronoun thing. I’m still confused in regards to my question though. In this case i’m trying to work out the difference between; Me va a gustar vs Me voy a gustar I saw written ¿me va a gustar? = am I going to like it? My limited knowledge thinks this means “is he/she/it going to like me” Why isn’t it just ¿me voy a gustar? With appropriate intonation at the end for a question?
    – Greg Lamb
    Sep 9 at 6:44
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    As I said above, the thing being liked is the subject, meaning that ir has to be conjugated in the 3rd person. Me voy a gustar means I am going to like myself. It is NOT the same as Me va a gustar, regardless of your intonation. That's just the way Spanish is. Resistance is futile 😉
    – nopaltepec
    Sep 9 at 11:15
  • @Greg Lamb Well, to begin with, "¿Me voy a gustar?" sounds weird and self referential. Second, if you still don't get it, when someone says "¿Me voy a reconocer/querer en el futuro?" they are referring to themselves and not to another person or thing. It's like someone who looks at his face in a mirror.
    – cocteau
    Sep 9 at 22:55
  • @Greg Lamb The grammatical explanation for Why isn’t it just ¿me voy a gustar? With appropriate intonation at the end for a question? is explained by the answers given. Practically, it might help you overcome your confusion if you think about the effect putting the subject first has, that is ¿va a gustarme? instead of ¿me va a gustar?. Using that theoretical word order ¿voy a gustarme’ sounds very weird indeed, making the grammatical error stand out
    – Traveller
    Sep 11 at 9:08
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Thanks all for the input. I got a simple answer elsewhere that made it click.

Basically I have to think "It is going to be liked by me?" Instead of "am I going to like it?"

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    It is going to be liked by me = Me va a gustar // I like to be liked = Me gusta agradar // You can’t be liked by everyone = No puedes agradarle a todos // The more I know me, the less I like me // I will like myself = me gustaré(a mí mismo) || "Me voy a gustar" is awkward in the active voice, so it'll be even more in the passive.
    – cocteau
    Sep 13 at 3:58
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    Basically, you have to remember the grammar and not try to translate word for word from English :-)
    – Traveller
    Sep 13 at 7:32
  • @cocteau I have an awkward feeling what me voy a gustar sounds like to a native ear :D
    – Greg Lamb
    Sep 14 at 4:05

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