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  5. "My father likes playing the …

"My father likes playing the piano."

Translation:A mi padre le gusta tocar el piano.

June 15, 2018



Why isn't it "Mi padre"? What is the A for?


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.


Yes... but is there a specific rule for the "A"? Could it not have just been "Mi padre"?


technically speaking, the rule is to use 'a' to clarify to whom.. but we don't use it all the time.. it's not a hard fast rule. IMO your answer should be accepted.. but hey.. I'm a native speaker.


I agree, the A is for emphasis that it is "MY father" however there is no specified reason for emphasis here. Same as "A mi no me gusta" it means the same as "No me gusta"


Why then have "le" in the first place? It was added as an afterthought which has no bearing in the sentence when we are referring to "My father" a direct pronoun.


I could be wrong, but I don't think the "le" can be left out of a "gustar" sentence construction. The "A padre" lets you know who "le" refers to.


Perhaps to add emphasis and/or to provide contrast. Without more context, we can't really know the reason. But there are contexts in which it would be logical to do so. For example, if the speaker just finished stating that he/she hates piano lessons then follows with, "But my FATHER, he likes to play the piano!"


A good question! I think it's because 'A' is used in the personal. However, it doesn't seem to work in all cases, which baffles me. For example 'A mi padre is correct, but, 'A mi hermano' is not! My problem is when to use the 'A' and when not to!


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.


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.


Thank you very much for your explanation , it's a real help in understanding the problem I've been having..


This made is so clear. Thanks!!


Great explanation!


I an wondering what the A is for -why not just Mi Padre?


why is an "A" needed before mi padre?


Is the "el" necessary before "piano"?


I think it was necessary,but waiting for confirmation....


El = The

El piano = The piano...


Yes good bit of help there, thanks.


Is the "le" necessary?


Why do we have to say "A" mi padre.....I do not understand this? Can you tell me why?


Estaba correcta la respuesta


Thank you spiceyokooko for an excellent explanation.


How about "A mi papá le gusta tocar el piano"?


I think "padre" is more formal.


Why is it acceptable to write: 'A mi padre' but not 'A mi hermano'?


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.


Can somebody explain the rule for when to use el or not to use el? For example: "A mi me gusta aprender español" "A mi padre le gusta tocar el piano" What's the difference?


I would like to know the same thing. As in el baloncesto & el beisbol. Why not simply 'Me gusta beisbol"? I like THE baseball?? Really????


Gets really annoying. .taught one way then Duo changes!!!!


'Guitarra' is feminine, so it should be 'la guitarra' rather than 'el guitarra.'


If DL has determined that the answer should start with "A", then indicate that in the hints on hover !


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?


Is 'A mi padre' different from 'mi padre' while speaking?


I'm not a native Spanish speaker, but I learned that this is the "familiar a", meaning you use it when you are personally connected to someone or something or have a relationship with them, so family members, your favorite pet etc.


Would someone explain why the infinitive "tocar" is used instead of the third person "toca"?


Ugh u dint need the el in front of piano this app has flaws


I think we always introduce the subject of a Spanish sentence with an article.

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