"My father likes playing the piano."
Translation:A mi padre le gusta tocar el piano.
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.
someone said previously that he had noticed that you put the 'a' on those instances where it is asking whether a person likes or loves etc ie: a Felipe le encanta tocar el piano, but not for this sentence...…. mis abuelos también son simpáticos. Once I had started noticing the construction of the sentence, it got easier to know when to put the 'a' or omit it. I hope this generalisation helps.
I just wrote out an explanation for this to another similar question, so forgive me for giving you a link to it:
A mi padre is defining the indirect object pronoun 'le' here.
This sentence translates to:
a mi padre - to my father
le gusta - it pleases him
tocar - to play
el piano - the piano
But because - to my father it pleases him to play the piano is a odd grammatical construct, it changes to my father likes...
Without A mi padre, le gusta tocar el piano would mean:
it/he/she/you (usted) pleases to play the piano.
So you need the A mi padre to define what 'le' is referring to.
DamonMarty thats the best explanation ive seen for gustar! But i didnt see you say anything about se gusta, is that a thing? I know duchar is to bathe i think and you got me ducho, te duchas, se ducha. Since theres me gusta, te gusta, le gusta, les gusta, nos gusta...is there se gusta? And would you use it if you didnt use le gusta?
I think "A mi hermano" would be an acceptable way to specify "my brother" in place of "my father" in a "gustar" or "encantar" sentence construction. Can you provide an example in which it wasn't accepted? I missed this. It may be a software error that needs to be reported, if it hasn't already been addressed.
The best way to do Duolingo is not on a phone app, but on a computer, because the computer program has Tips before every lesson, and your question is explained very well in the Tips. Also, reading the discussions helps a lot. Evidently you can't see all the discussion comments on your app either because your question has been answered here already. You can access the Duolingo computer program on smartphones as well as on PCs. I don't know why Duolingo does not make all the features available on all the apps.