The verb gustar has a special structure in Spanish, and it forms a part of one of the grammatical subjects that presents the greatest problem for students, since it does not bear any grammatical similarity to English.
One of the first things that we learn in a new language is how to express likes and dislikes. "I like Spanish," "I like the culture," "I like how it sounds," or "I like to travel around South America" are some of the most common answers to the question "Why are you learning Spanish?"
We use the verb gustar to express desires, dislikes, interests, preferences, and feelings.
A normal statement in Spanish is formulated by a Subject + Verb + Complement.
Yo corro en el parque - I run in the park
Ella come una hamburguesa - She eats a hamburger
With the verb gustar, the most important difference is that subject personal pronouns (yo, tú, el, ella, usted, nosotros, nosotras, ustedes, ellos, ellas) are not used. Instead, it is necessary to use the corresponding indirect object pronouns (IO) for each person, preceded by the preposition "a."
The structure is as follows:
Indirect Object Pronoun (IO) + Gustar (in the 3rd person) + Complement
A mí me gusta el helado - I like ice cream
A ti te gusta la comida italiana - You like Italian food
With the verb gustar we need to differentiate between singular and plural objects. When the object is singular, we use gusta, and when it is plural, we use gustan.
A mí me gusta el libro - I like the book
A mí me gustan los libros - I like the books
A ellos les gusta el perro - They like the dog
A ellos les gustan los perros - They like dogs
A nosotros nos gusta la playa - We like the beach
A nosotros nos gustan las playas de México - We like the beaches of Mexico
We can also state that we like an activity with the form gusta.
A mí me gusta comer helado - I like to eat ice cream
A ustedes les gusta escuchar música - You all like to listen to music
A nosotros nos gusta correr en el parque - We like to run in the park
And what do you like?