How would you use the imperative for the verb "gustar"? For example, commanding someone to like the food.

Like the food.

Would that be something like

Gústete la comida.

In that sentence, you are commanding the food to be pleasing to you, which seems awkward in a logical sense. Because of that, is the imperative of gustar avoided? Is it replaced with other phrases like

Te tiene que gustar la comida

Te necesita gustar la comida

4 Answers 4


The problem is that gustar is an inverted verb, compared to English.

For example:

I like the food.

Me gusta la comida.

In Spanish the subject is "comida", while "me" is the indirect complement, while in English, "I" is the subject and "food" is the complement.

So you have to use the third person imperative, and that is constructed using the present of subjunctive:

Que te guste la comida.

It is useful both to express a desire or a command.

Your alternative:

Te tiene que gustar la comida.

sounds nice, but it can also mean "it is impossible/unlikely you do not like the food".

About the other one:

Te necesita gustar la comida.

It sounds very weird, not for "gustar", but because "necesitar" is not used in this way.


Gustar can be used in the imperative, but will normally be understand as to try / taste something (its transitive meaning is experimentar, percibir el sabor, etc). For example, the Argentinian Alfonsina Storni once wrote

Corre, camina, gira, sube y vuela: Gústalo todo porque todo es bello

However, because the literal meaning of intransitive gustar is more to please / to be pleasing / to be attractive, commanding someone to gústate is saying be pleasing/attractive to yourself. Technically grammatical, sure, but a bit narcissistic.

The better word to use if you want to use the imperative is going to be disfrutar (de):

Disfruta de la comida. Quiero que te guste (la comida).

Or if you really want to use gustar, Rodrigo's solution of que te guste is best.

  • Great answer. // I would modify "Quiero que te guste" to "Espero que te guste" to fit with cultural norms of less directness than in English. May 7, 2018 at 13:27

Sólo tengo que decir que sí:

  • Gústete la comida.

Está mal y:

  • Te tiene que gustar la comida.

Transmite correctamente el mensaje y por consiguiente es la mejor traducción. Es la que yo usaría.

  • Te necesita gustar la comida.

Está mal porque ni siquiera es correcto gramaticalmente. No veo otra opción mas que la anterior.


  • "Gústete" está perfecto, aunque no se use. Es la misma construcción que, por ejemplo, "válgame dios".
    – angus
    Aug 31, 2014 at 15:24

The verb gustar does not mean "to like", so it's pointless to try to make it an imperative for the person, as the person who either likes or dislikes something is the OBJECT of the sentence (not the one performing the action). "Gústate" almost sounds like you're telling someone to taste something (although we'd use probar for that).

Here are a few suggestions that would more closely approximate what you're trying to say:

Favorece esta comida.

Prefiere esta comida.

Di que te gusta esta comida (say that you like this meal).

Ponle "me gusta" a esta comida (give this meal a "like").

Please note that the above suggestions are written for the tú form.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.