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  5. "I like chocolate cake."

"I like chocolate cake."

Translation:Me gusta el pastel de chocolate.

June 15, 2018



Why do you need the article "el" in front of pastel. Why can't I just say: "Me gusta pastel de chocolate"


You're talking about all chocolate cake in general, and it's the subject of the sentence (Chocolate cake is pleasing to me.), so the article is needed.
It'll be used before nouns after gusta/n. Me gusta el español. (I like Spanish.) Me gustan los perros. (I like dogs.) No te gustan los exámenes. (You don't like exams.) No nos gusta la ensalada. (We don't like salad.)


This makes sense to me, but what I'm having trouble understanding is if we use el/la/los/las with nouns in both a general sense ("I like chocolate cake") AND in a specific sense ("I like THE chocolate cake"), how do we know which way to translate a sentence in English? Can you shed any light on this? Thanks :)


It's just context of the situation, which you're not going to have on a language learning app since each sentence is unrelated to the last.


why do we use de can't it be el pastel chocolate


There may be exceptions, but when two nouns (and chocolate is used as a noun here) are used together they are joined by "de"--think of it as saying "a cake (made) of chocolate). It is called contiguity, and is probably clearer when both words are obviously nouns such as sunglasses which translates to "gafas de sol". This also applies to gerunds ("ing" form of the verb used as a noun) such as "parking". An example is parking garage "garage de estacionamiento" or the more Americanized "garage de parking". It seems awkward initially but is very common--mandatory actually in Spanish and Romance languages with which I am familiar. In English we sometimes, but not always, run the words together without spaces. I think the notes in one module cover it. **edit--one of the exceptions: Videojuego is very common and not the expected juego de video.


This is very helpful. Thank you so much. One thing that I don't get, though, is I would say in English, chocolate is an adjective. But you are saying in Spanish it is a noun in this sentence? How does one know when an English adj becomes a noun? I mean a blue cake would be el pastel azul, not el pastel de azul, right? Blue could be a noun just as much as chocolate could, it seems to me.


You are right, the classification blurs sometimes because at the heart of it you are modifying "cake" and that is the job of an adjective---usually. It is actually a noun in English too--used as an adjective. In English you don't have to think..is it a noun or not..we just use it like an adjective, but Spanish, Italian, and even the Semitic Hebrew have this special construct. How do you know? I think if you can say "of or made of or made for" that is a clue. You wouldn't say, "House of red" for example. It seems tricky but I think you will fall into it naturally--and un juego de fútbol will not seem awkward, but un juego fútbol would just seem incomplete--the two nouns want their "marriage" legitimized by de.


Dan, I have a comment where you say, "This also applies to gerunds ("ing" form of the verb used as a noun) such as "parking". An example is parking garage "garage de estacionamiento" or the more Americanized "garage de parking". You stated a gerund is a verb used as a noun, which is correct. But your example of a gerund is actually a noun (estacionamiento) not a gerund (estacionar). Garaje de estacionar o garaje de aparcar are two examples of Parking Garage with gerunds.


A most enlightening and comprehensive response. Thank you for taking the time to explain things so thoroughly. It's a lot to grasp for a beginning Spanish speaker, but I'll give it a try.


Thanks, Marcy. Also, here's an explanation of article usage with examples: https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/using-the-definite-article-in-spanish


The attached link (on the rla951 comment) has a practice quiz that is excellent for teaching the use of the definite article. I scored 80%, I should have done better, but this is still new to me.


This was really helpful. Thanks so much!


I am relatively fluent in Spanish, and I still occasionally struggle with this. Imagine people coming from languages that have no definite article such as Thai and Chinese--they hardly know when to put it in. At least Spanish and English match up most of the time. I still remember a sign outside a hotel in Thailand that started its message with, "Dear the guest......"


LOL, so true! The poor Russians -- at first my friend was leaving out "the" where it belonged, so I'd correct him, but then he overcompensated by putting it in where it didn't belong. I don't know how anyone ever learns English!


Seems like if you're talking about a specific cake, you'd use the article (me gusta el pastel/the cake is pleasing to me), but if you're talking about cake in general then you wouldn't use the article (me gusta pastel/cake is pleasing to me)?


In Spanish, the definite article is used with nouns in a general sense and with nouns in a specific sense. Out of context, it will be ambiguous.


I'm confused by your comment. It basically says the definite article is ALWAYS used - "with nouns in a general sense and with nouns in a specific sense." Is there any other way for a noun to be used?


Yes. In English, it would be "some" or "a."

I GENERALLY like chocolate cake.

I like THE chocolate cake.

I like SOME chocolate cake.

I like A chocolate cake.

The last two examples would not use the definite article.


Great question that has yet to be answered satisfactorily. Maybe we need to learn when NOT to use the article


His question has been answered multiple times on this thread alone. What magic answer are you looking for?


Also, in this example, not only is pastel a noun after gustar, it is a modified noun (it could be specifically chocolate versus a different kind). Your four examples (Spanish, dogs, exams, salad) are not modified and are general terms. They are not distinguished by which type of, via a modifier. The cake, while it may be generalized by type, is distinguished from other types of cake, as a chocolate cake, not a fruitcake, carrot cake, or pineapple upside down cake, so is specifically a chocolate cake. Both specific and general nouns use an article. So when you say because it's a general nouns, I would say, A general noun as opposed to what kind of noun?

In this case, whether "chocolate cake" is being general or specific really depends on what you are trying to convey. A chocolate cake is general if you are referring to all types of chocolate cakes no matter what types of chocolate cakes, so including German Chocolate Cakes, Chocolate Fudge Cakes, Dutch Chocolate Cakes, M&Ms Chocolate Cakes, Chocolate Mousse Cakes, Mocha Fudge Cakes and Flourless Chocolate Cakes. In that specific context, "chocolate cakes" is a general term. You like all of these, all chocolate cakes. But ... if you like chocolate cake as opposed to Coconut Cream Cake, PUD Cake, etc, then you are being specific, like at a party telling the person, You don't want those other fine cakes: Which cake do you want to try? I like chocolate cake, you respond. Either way, general and specific uses the article.

Where it would NOT use the article 'el' postre is: With Unspecified Quantities Example: ¿Lleva huevo la ensalada? (The amount of eggs is unspecified.) En esa tienda venden televisores. (The amount of TV's is unknown.) A la fiesta tiene postres de chocolate. (The amount is unspecified.)

Depending on your situation, then, this is how you would do it. So just remember: general, specific = article and unspecified amount = no article. (Does this mean the amount of chocolate cake is unknown, not specific? Well, you can argue that it is specific because if you like chocolate cakes in general, you like ALL of them, and that's pretty specific in number. So you have to decide what you are trying to convey and when interpreting you have to determine what the speaker is trying to convey. If unclear, ask them or if asked, clarify yourself.

I hope this clears this up. Best regards.


¿Why not a me gusta?


Because that isn't how it's said. It's either me gusta or (for emphasis) a mi me gusta.


Sorry... just done understand. After breezing through almost all previously learned, this has been the hardest lesson. "This" and "that" in Spanish , singular and plural . Way too confusing and very little explanation. Ahora, no me gusta aprender más.


I'm sorry @marcy65brown, that makes no sense to me. I would have thought it was the opposite!
Cake in general - no article; specific cake - article If what you say is right, how do you say 'i like the cake'? Also, the cake is the object, not the subject. The subject is 'I'


"I" is the subject in the ENGLISH sentence. "CAKE" is the subject in the SPANISH sentence, and therein lies the confusion. Direct translations often don't work because of two languages varied constructions. In fact there is no "I" in the Spanish sentence at all. Also, if you want to be specific, you may say, "Me gusta este pastel", sidestepping the common use of the definite article to indicate generality. Again, direct translations are troublesome. If the cake is not near you, you could use ese, or aquel (a word that means, "that--over there".


Thank you Dan, that makes more sense now. I didn't know the subject & object were different in Spanish. I think some of the confusion may lie (apart from the lack of explanations from DL) in the fact that some of us are responding to the Spanish to English translation, and some vice versa


"I like cake," and "I like the cake," would be said the same way in Spanish. You just have to use context clues to figure it out.

And Marcy was correct. Cake is the subject of the Spanish sentence. I am the object.


Would it be permissible to say "Me gustan los pasteles de chocolate" to show that you're talking generically about chocolate cake and not a particular chocolate cake?


I have the same question.


I'm sorry, i speak Spanish but I'm trying to learn the grammar, and the way chocolate is pronounced in this sentence is really unusual and I doubt I've ever heard a Spanish speaker pronounce it that way.


Is it always "gusta" for "like"? Cake is masculine, so why not "gusto"?


That doesn't apply to verbs, only adjectives. Gusta is he/she likes, gusto is I like.


That is 100% wrong. I like is "me gusta."


Whenever you open a module, instead of pressing START, press the lightbulb, first. THAT is where the lesson is. In Preferences, you get https://www.duolingo.com/skill/es/Preference/tips which will explain in a very simple way, how to use "me gusta". Unfortunately, I can not find any clear way to understand why we have to say "el pastel".


"Pasteles" or "los pasteles" should probably be accepted as well as the singular "el pastel." Question sounds like they are describing a general like for chocolate cakes, not just a like for one specific chocolate cake. Certainly a Spanish speaker would understand this if the plural were used, not only the singular. Right?


Sorry for the repeat question but I'm still not getting why "gusta" is used rather than "gusto". According to SpanishDict.com, "gusto" is the present indiciative used with "yo".


In reality, rather than saying “I like cake”, you’re really saying “cake pleases me”. You demonstrate who is being pleased - “me” - by using the Spanish word “me”. Then you need to demonstrate what’s doing the pleasing - the “cake”, or in other words “it”. The correct conjugation for he, she or it is “gusta”. So in the end, you have “me gusta el pastel”. “Me gusto” would basically mean “I please me” or “I like myself”.


Think of gustar almost like the opposite of the English word 'disgusts'. SomeTHING disgusts you, OR something pleases you. That way, you can view the verb how it is actually used: Chocolate cake pleases me, or in my case Chocolate cake disgusts me.


perfect example!


That's only when it means "to taste." If that site says otherwise, it's wrong. For "like" you have to think of it as "it pleases me" -- me gusta. It's the thing that's taking the action, not you.


If the question doesn't specify "the" cake, the the answer shouldn't require it.


In Spanish, the definite article is used with nouns in a general and with nouns in a specific sense. You're talking about all chocolate cake here.


Couldn't it also be "me gustan los pasteles de chocolate"?


This would be the case if the promt read ". . . chocolate cakes"


Why can't I use yo instead of me


You use "yo" for the subject, like you would use "I" in English.

In Spanish, you are saying 'The chocolate cake pleases me" so you say "me", not "yo".
Me gusta = It pleases me
el pastel de chocolate = the chocolate cake


I'm at a loss too. why not, Yo gusto el pastel de chocolate. The sentence asked is, I like chocolate cake, not The chocolate cake pleases me. I guess my question is, why not say it in the way a Spanish speaker would think. I would hope to be able to think in Spanish as I'm speaking.


In Spanish, there is no such thing as "I like the chocolate cake," only "The chocolate cake pleases me." Gustarse is a reflexive verb, and can't be used otherwise.


have searched Duolingo's dictionary and spanishdict.com and didn't find "gustarse" in either of them.


That's because DuosDaddy's first sentence was correct but his second one wasn't. It's not reflexive -- that's for when you do something to yourself, like ducharse (shower) or sentarse (sit down). Here the thing (cake) is doing something (pleasing) to you.


Alas, probably none of us are grammarians--but--try not to fight this construction---you HAVE to learn it whether you call gustar(se) a normal verb, a reflexive verb, or a "verb like gustar" for which I found an interesting website, posted below. Additionally, I tried the spanishdict.com and as you said, didn't find gustarse listed per se, but the first example on that website (for gustar) is "Me gusta la comida mexicana--I like Mexican food. Is it reflexive---not in the traditional sense, nor is it reciprocal (such as we hug EACH OTHER). Hopefully the following website will make everybody right and everybody happy---but you still have to master this idiomatic construction. https://www.realfastspanish.com/vocabulary/verbs-like-gustar


Why is torta incorrect here ?

[deactivated user]

    me gusta el pastel chocolate


    Why can't we say "me gusta los pasteles de chocolate"? The preference is toward all chocolate cakes, so it seems adequate to use plural form


    I don't know if Duo is going to accept it once you make this change, but if you're going to make the case that multiple cakes please you, you're going to have to conjugate the verb as gustan.


    If you want me to use el before pastel, you should write the before chocolate, otherwise you use a trick to mock student, who is learning Spanish. It's not the first case, where duolingo impose only true possible answer, although there are others. It must be changed.


    This is not a trick to mock students. It is a general feature of Romance languages. It is done in English, but much less often. Imagine a documentary on Africa, and the narrator says, "The lion is a noble beast". He could hardly say, "Lion is a noble beast", and he is not talking about a particular lion, but lions in general. Leaving the article out in Spanish sounds as odd to a Spanish speaker as, as saying, "lion is a noble beast" in English.


    Dude I've beem reading these comments forever but this is the one that opened my eyes


    What i don't understand is why the article was used here and not in the sentence "I like cheese alot."


    I have the same question... Maybe Roselaw could use that flippant tongue to help us.


    LOL, you're funny! Sorry, but I honestly have no idea. My understanding is that the article should pretty much always be used, so perhaps jessicaowen84 is mistaken in regard to the cheese sentence.


    It's all in fun roselaw, lol... Thanks for responding...

    I am actually going through the practice of this lesson... If I run across it... I will post the exact sentence she is referring to so maybe you can see something in there we missed.


    That would be great -- thanks Yolanda!


    Me gusta pastel de chocolatebshould be correct.


    And why it has to be "el" and not "un"?


    Because that means "I like a chocolate cake."


    If its el pastel then why me gusto has been marked wrong.


    Verbs don't have a gender. Gustar has the same ending for "it pleases" regardless of what the noun is.


    I do like chocolate cake


    Why is 'yo me gusta ...' not accepted


    This question has been asked and answered several times here. Please review other posts before posting a question that has been answered. Thanks.


    Why does it need the article "el"?


    I like every chocolate cake... So "un" will be better ;)


    I don't quite understand what translation you are claiming should be correct, but the sentence needs to be written as Duo presented. The speaker is not claiming to like a single cake or all cakes. They are claiming to like cake as a general rule. Spanish dictates that you must use 'el' in that case.


    Pastel is the general word for pastry. Torta is the word for cake except in México.


    I was told in another forum that the article is used when something specific is referred to like some cake or some dresses but when in general the article is not used. This is confusing because my answer was wrong when I used the article before for something general.


    The article is definitely used when talking about something in general.


    So then I don't understand why someone else posted that my other answer was wrong because I used the article when it was referring to dresses and skirts in general...


    Unless I know what the other sentence is, I can't help you.


    Why the definite article? It's chocolate cake in general not a specific chocolate cake


    You just explained why.


    The correct translation to the answer is: I like the chocolate cake. If it were a general statement, the translation would be correct


    Duo's translation is correct.


    Why not "Me gusto el pastel chocolate. " We say "fiesta favorita" and "carro rojo".


    First of all, it's me gusta, not me gusto. Second, the cake is made of chocolate, which makes it different from your two examples.


    How about, "Me gusta los pasteles de chocolate". I got it as wrong.


    Why is it wrong to say Me gusta pastele chocolate?


    In English, we sometimes use words that are traditionally nouns as adjectives such as they are using chocolate here. Chocolate is a noun since it is a thing, but when we place it before cake, it becomes an adjective.

    Spanish dies not work like this. Chocolate is a noun, period. In Spanish, to combine two nouns, you have to use the preposition 'de.'


    Is there much of a difference between pastel, tarta, and bizcocho? Is there any regional differences; my boyfriend from spain seems to use bizcocho for sponge cake and tarta elsewhere, but he's not sure about the translations.


    It gives you the hint or tip after you get it wrong. I didn't write "el" either, and it said that any time you talk about something you like, you have to use "the", as in "I like the beer" or "I like the chocolate cake".


    If this is how you say "I like chocolate cake" then how do you say: "I like the chocolate cake"


    Does me gusto and gusta appear as form of masculine feminine with reference to the speaker's gender?


    No, it's always me gusta.


    How do you decide if it's me encanta or me gusta?


    In real life, they can both be used because it's only a difference of degree, but for Duo's purposes, you substitute gustar for like and encantar for love.


    Its useless always using el or the.


    What does that mean?


    Please, no .....why EL chocolate, por favor? What is so special about chocolate that it demands EL? The pull down cues didn't mention it, either....


    This has been discussed extensively above and you will find your answer there. Going forward, please read existing posts before repeating questions. Thanks.


    Why is this not " A mi me gusta el pastel de chocolate?"


    "A mi" is optional. They could have picked either version as the default answer.


    Can you use me encanta el pastel de chocolate??


    No. Me encanta is I love.


    I wrote yo me gusta el pastel de chocolate.. was marked wrong


    yo is never used in constructions of this type.


    Why did you post the same comment three times??? And it was marked wrong because it IS wrong. Please read the ten zillion comments here about it.


    I posted "Yo me gusta ..." and it marked it as wrong. I suppose the "Yo" is redundant since it follows with "me"


    It's not redundant, it's just wrong. Think of it as it pleases me -- "me gusta." The cake is the actor here, not you.


    Can we say "Me gusta torta de chocolate"?


    Can we use torta instead of pastel


    I like the cake of chocolate.


    That's not how words are combined in English.


    Your question has been answered repeatedly. Please read the other comments.


    Confused, i put yo and not me.. what is the difference please, how do you know which to use


    Please put in the effort to read previous comments before asking questions. This same question has already been answered multiple times on this thread.


    Yes, agreed, these discussions become so cluttered that they're useless, because people don't bother to read existing questions and answers.


    i guess im the only one wondering why tarta isnt accepted


    Tarta is pie, not cake.


    I guess im the only one wondering why tarta isnt accepted


    Why gusta if pastel is masculine???? Why not gusto???


    "Gusta" is a verb. Verbs don't have a gender. They are matched to person and number.


    "gusta" is used as a verb.


    Why gusta if pastel is masculine? Why not gusto??


    Why gusta when pastel is masculine? Why not gusto.


    Why is it “gusta” not “ gusto”??


    Please read the multiple comments here about this.


    Can you not say "Yo me gusta"? That's why i got it wrong, but i thought that should be ok????


    It's not OK. Please read the multiple comments that have already discussed this repeatedly. Thanks.


    Why is adding Yo before me gusta incorrect?


    It is an incorrect combination of pronouns. The subject pronouns (yo, tú, él, ella, usted,nosotros, ustedes and ellos) can never be combined with the indirect object pronouns in any construction I can think of. You must use the indirect object pronouns (me, te, le, nos, les*)You can for emphasis add the tonic pronouns (a mi, a ti, a usted, a él, a ella, a nosotros, a ustedes, a ellos (as). Unlike Italian you can’t add either tonic or indirect object pronoun. You have to use indirect and then optionally add the tonic (a mi) for emphasis. For example a mi me gusta xxxxxx. Or a él le gusta xxxxxx.


    "Yo me gusta el pastel de chocolate." Marked wrong. :(


    Because it IS wrong. The "yo" doesn't belong there. If you want to add emphasis, you can put "a mi me gusta."


    why doesn't it accept "me gusto el pastel de chocolate"?


    Because it's me gusta. PLEASE read existing comments before re-posting things that have been asked and answered repeatedly. Thanks.


    Why not me gusto el pastel?


    Your question has been answered repeatedly. Please read the other comments.


    If it's all masculine why isn't it mucho not mucha


    Mucho doesn't even appear in this sentence so why are you asking that?


    I wrote yo me gusta el pastel de chocolate.. was marked wrong


    I wrote yo me gusta el pastel de chocolate.. was marked wrong


    How about este pastel


    That means this cake


    Why is "de" always thrown in.


    Read the course notes which explains why 'de' is used in Spanish.


    Because that's how the language is spoken. Why ask why?


    I wrote Yo me gusta el pastel de chocolate and the program said this as error?


    I have answered this exact question about 10 times above. Please read the existing comments before cluttering up the thread with repeats. Thanks.


    I used YO, instead of me/why incorrect/


    This has been answered repeatedly here. Please read the other comments before posting repeats. Thanks.


    I like...thought it should be "me gusto" Seems to me that 'gusta' goes with el/elle/usted.


    This has been asked and answered repeatedly here. Please read existing questions and comments before cluttering the thread with repeats.


    Torta should be accepted


    Hi, please use the button to report omissions and oversights. The course creators don't read every comment to every sentence discussion, but they do get the reports. Thanks!


    Why is it gusta? Isn't "pastel" masculine?


    This was answered above. Please read previous comments before cluttering list. Gusta is a verb and so doesn't change gender.


    When you have a question about an exercise and click on discussion, it opens up with a comment box. It's a natural reaction to go ahead and ask your question. I've done this before and realized that I should have scrolled down through the other comments. I'm figuring it out and so will the others. I respect your experience and knowledge. You've been active on this site for almost 6 years without missing a day. That's INCREDIBLE!! We really value your input. Please be patient with those of us that are just starting out. We'll get there.


    That is SO sweet! Your kindheartedness makes me ashamed of my crotchety-ness. :-)


    LannyBBrit: Well said... Roselaw: Great reply... You're forgiven (by me at least)

    [deactivated user]

      It is I like chocolate cake, NOT I like the chocolate cake. You guys need to do some updating


      Why is it "el" pastel and NOT "la" pastel!?! ❤❤❤!?!?


      pastel is a masculine word.

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