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"¿A tu hermano le gusta el baloncesto?"

Translation:Does your brother like basketball?

March 25, 2018


Sorted by top post


Hopefully, this helps to explain gustar and encantar

In English, we commonly say "I like the dog" or "I love the dog." The English construction of this idea is "person - verb - subject."

In Spanish, there is no way in Spanish to say "I like" or "I love" in this way. (Saying "I love you" in a romantic sense uses different verbs, amar.) Instead, Spanish uses the verbs gustar and encantar.

To start with, gustar does not mean "to like." Gustar literally means "to please" as in "The dog pleases me." "A mi me gusta el perro" appears to use the same "person - verb - subject" construction as English "I like the dog." However, it literally translates to "To me - is pleasing - the dog" or "The dog pleases me."

Likewise, encantar does not mean "to love." Encantar literally means "to enchant" as in "The dog enchants me." "A mi me encanta el perro" appears to use the same "person - verb - subject" construction as English "I love the dog." However, it literally translates as "To me - is enchanting - the dog" or "The dog enchants me."

Good so far? Okay, now here comes a tricky part....


Because both gustar and encantar focus on what is being liked (rather than on the person who likes them) they conjugate according to what is being liked.

A mi me gusta el perro = The dog is pleasing to me = I like the dog

A mi me gustan los perros = The dogs are pleasing to me = I like the dogs

A mi me encanta el perro = The dog is enchanting to me = I love the dog

A mi me encantan los perros = The dogs are enchanting to me = I love the dogs

Still with me? Okay, now here's yet another tricky part....


Here's the construction:

Me gusta = I like

Nos gusta = We like

Te gusta = You (informal) like

Le gusta = He/she/you (formal) like

Les gusta: They / you (plural) like


A nostros nos gustan los perros = The dogs are pleasing to us = We like the dogs.

A ti te gusta el perro = The dog is pleasing to you = You like the dog

A ella le gusta el perro = The dog is pleasing to her = She likes the dog

A ellos les encantan los perros = The dogs are enchanting to them = They love the dogs

Because "me gusta" always means "I like" we generally drop the clarifying "a mi". If you use "a mi me gusta el perro" in Spanish it sounds like emphasis. As in how an American might say, "I don't know about you but I really like the dog." Instead, in Spanish we would generally use the simple form, "Me gusta el perro."

Same for nos gusta and te gusta.

However, you can see the problem with "le gusta" and "les gusta". Often the speaker needs to clarify just who "le" or "les" is referring to. So...

Me gusta el perro = I like the dog

Te gusta el perro = You like the dog

Le gusta el perro = [Who?] likes the dog? All you've told me is that someone [singular] likes the dog. I still don't know exactly who. Aunt Mary? A zombie? The neighbor's cat? Without context, I don't know.

Les gusta el perro = [Who?] like the dog. Same problem, just plural. Okay, great. Someone [plural] likes the dog. Who? My aunts? Zombies? All the cats? I don't know.

So we use "a [x]" to clarify and let us know exactly who likes the dog.

A mi padre le gusta el perro = To my father - is pleasing - the dog = The dog is pleasing to my father = My father likes the dog.

A mis padres les gusta le perro = To my parents - is pleasing - the dog = The dog is pleasing to my parents = My parents like the dog

~ And verbs? What if you like to do something? Always use the infinitive.

Me gusta tocar el piano = To me - is pleasing - to play - the piano = I like to play piano or I like playing the piano ~

Anyway, I hope this helps.

September 1, 2019


why does the sentence begin with an "A"? It seems unnecessary.

July 30, 2018


Because literally the sentence would translate to something like "Is basketball pleasing to your brother?" Basketball is actually the subject of the sentence.

August 5, 2018


Still doesn't answer the question as to why "A" is necessary.

September 9, 2018


The "a" means "to": "To your brother is basketball pleasing?"

September 9, 2018


I answered “Is basketball pleasing to your brother?” and was marked wrong.

November 2, 2018


Although that is a literal translation, I don't think anybody would generally say that in English.

November 2, 2018


Could it say se gusta instead of le gusta? I'm not sure what the le means.

May 5, 2019


Hopefully someone who understands and can explain grammar better will reply. But, for now...

"Le" is an indirect object pronoun = to/for it, him, her, formal you.

An indirect object tells you to whom or for whom something is done. An indirect object pronoun takes the place of an indirect object.

Your brother is the indirect object in the Spanish sentence in this exercise, "¿A tu hermano le gusta el baloncesto?" (The sentence literally says, "To your brother to him is basketball pleasing?") "Le" is the indirect object pronoun. "A tu hermano" clarifies who is being referred to by "le." (In English, we would normally use either the indirect object pronoun or the indirect object in a sentence, not both.)

"Does your brother like basketball?" ("brother" is the subject and "basketball" is the direct object.)

"Se" is a reflexive pronoun = to, from or for himself, herself, itself, yourself, themselves or yourselves

Some reflexive verbs already introduced by duoLingo: duchar, llamar, levantar

Reflexive verbs are used when the direct or indirect object of a sentence is the same as the subject. Reflexive verbs require the use of a reflexive pronoun to indicate who the subject/object is. These types of verbs are not very common in English, but are used frequently in Spanish to describe actions that a person does to, for, or from him or herself. Many verbs that express actions related to personal care or daily routines are reflexive and do not translate easily into English as "myself," "yourself," etc.


July 30, 2019


Thank you very much for the clarification.

September 1, 2019


How do we translate "el baloncesto" as basketball, the sport. Not THE basketball, the sport's item? (I read the translation as "Does your brother like the basketball?")

May 6, 2019


How would one say in Spanish, "I like the basketball"? How would one say, "I generally like basketball but not the basketball?"

May 16, 2019


Not an expert, but my guess would be that "I like the basketball" translates to "Me gusta un baloncesto". The second sentence would roughly translate to: Me gusta el baloncesto, pero no me gusta un baloncesto"

July 10, 2019


I would like to know this, too. In this exercise, "el baloncesto" is obviously basketball as a sport, because it comes without an article in English. How does the Spanish language distinguish between baloncesto as a ball and baloncesto as a sport?

June 19, 2019


Why el baloncesto when before it was al baloncesto?

April 15, 2019


el = the, a definite article (but the usage rules are different in Spanish than English as illustrated by there being no "the" before basketball.)

al = mandatory contraction whenever you would use a + el = to the

We are going to the basketball game. = [Nosotros] Vamos al partido de baloncesto.

July 30, 2019


Why is the spelling for basketball here is ¨baloncesto¨ while in another question with the picture of the basketball its spelled as ¨balconcesto¨?

May 9, 2019


Why is it el baloncesto this time and last time it was al baloncesto?

May 15, 2019


See reply to Connor79151.

July 30, 2019


In a previous question in this section "gusta" was translated as "love".

August 7, 2018


Gustar means to like, while encantar means to love.

November 18, 2018


Is the A a speech convention or does it have meaning

September 17, 2018



February 10, 2019
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