Following on from me gusta, (I like it’ and literally translated as ‘it pleases me’), it is important to realize that we can change this verb in all the usual ways. It takes a certain amount of mental effort, but the results are worth it. For example, it’s perfectly possible to say something like me gustas (‘I like you’, that is – ‘You please me’) or even ¿te gusto? (“Do you like me?” that is – “Do I please you?”)
We can also use the expression in other tenses:
Me ha gustado.
I have like it/I liked it.
Did you like it?
He liked them.
Os va a gustar mucho.
You (plural) are going to like it a lot.
In fact the possibilities are endless.
I mentioned last month that there were many other verbs that behave in the same way as gustar. For example:
It delights me/I love it.
It surprises me.
It annoys me.
It interests me.
Again, these can be changed around according to the usual rules of person and tense.
Here are a few more of these verbs and some comments on their use:
Me duele is a phrase that I teach to beginners to use in a medical situation. It means ‘It hurts me’. We can use this in other ways too:
It hurt me.
Te va a doler.
It’s going to hurt you.
Similar to this is:
It bothers me, or it hurts a little.
Mi comentario le molest.
My comment bothered (slightly upset) him).
Am I bothering you?
No, no me molesta en absolute.
No, you are not bothering me at all!
This last question and answer uses the usted version of ‘you’.
Parecer is a useful verb to use in this way. It means ‘to seem’ or ‘to appear’, so me parece means ‘it seems to me’. However, we would be more likely to translate it into English as ‘I think’.
Me parece que sí.
I think so.
Me parece que no.
I don’t think so.
Also very commonly heard is ¿Qué te parece? – ‘What do you think?’ or ‘How does it seem to you?’
We can use this phrase in many common everyday contexts, such as making arrangements: ¿Qué te parece el miércoles a las dos? – ‘How does Wednesday at 2 o’clock look?’
Me extraña is another example of the same kind of thing, using the verb extrañar. It means ‘It seems strange to me’ and is used when we might say in English ‘I’m surprised that …’
Me extraña que no entiendas eso.
It seems strange to me that you don’t understand that.
In other words ‘I’m surprised that you don’t understand that’.
Again, we might commonly find that in the past:
Su actitud me extrañó mucho.
‘His attitude surprised me a lot’ or ‘I was surprised at his attitude’.
Here is another use of the same verb:
Me extrañaría mucho si eso fuera el caso.
‘I would be very surprised if that were the case.’
Some of the verb tenses used here might be ones you haven’t come across yet, but what I mainly want to get across is the flexibility of this particular verb form and its multiple applications.
Jane Cronin’s ‘Step by Step Spanish’ articles are available as e-books at www. janecronin.eu where you can also obtain Jane’s ‘Step by Step Internet Spanish Course’.