1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Spanish
  4. >
  5. Question about a sentence fro…


Question about a sentence from Clitics

Here is a sentence from the Clitics sections: "A mis padres les gusta la cerveza.".

How is that different from saying: "Mis padres gustan cervesa". ?

Does one mean something different?

October 18, 2012



Gustar is a special verb. 'I like beer' is 'me gusta la cerveza'. If you like a plural noun e.g. 'gatos' (cats) you say 'me gustan los gatos'. It is like saying 'beer pleases me / cats please me' . The example about 'my parents like beer' is harder than the examples I've given but I'm afraid you cannot say "Mis padres gustan cervesa". I don't know how Duolingo expect you to figure this out.


@maryjack, could you say "Mis padres quieren cerveza"?


You can say that, but it means "My parents want beer", not "My parents like beer." "Gustarse" is an extremely common verb, and you will need to come to terms with the fact that its grammar is different from the grammar of its usual translation, "like". Les gusta la cerveza: beer is liked by them, hence they like beer A mis padres les gusta la cerveza: "A mis padres" is just spelling out the meaning of the indirect object "les", explaining that "by them" means "by my parents".


Actually, maryjack's translations using "please" are probably better, since they don't introduce the extra confusion of the passive voice which I used in my translations. les gusta la cerveza = beer pleases them (note that "la cerveza", although it comes after the verb in this sentence, is the subject of the verb, and "les" = "them" is the direct object, not the indirect object, as I said above. "Them" only becomes an indirect object in the translation with a passive voice verb which I gave.)


Thanks, fuonk. In fact, perhaps 'me gusta la cerveza' is literally 'beer is pleasing to me.' The main thing is that the verb querer ( yo quiero una cerveza) means to want (I want a beer) and does not mean I like. However with a person, querer means to love the person.


"Mis padres gustan cerveza" actually mean that they taste beer, so if they like to go to beer-tasting meet-ups that would be a possible phrase.


There was a song I used to listen to as a kid: "A mi me gustan las pupusas...." :-) It's easy, just remember (for whatever reason) that you have to put "a" in front of the person or thing. That's all.

Learn Spanish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.