The Spanish Verb Gustar in the Conditional Tense – Me Gustaria – I Would Like

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The Spanish Verb Gustar is used a lot in Spanish and the conditional tense is especially useful as it is often preferred to querer, which means ‘to want‘ when requesting something or expressing a wish.

However, before venturing further into an explanation, it is worth explaining that me gustaría means it would please me. Do not forget that gustar although used as the direct equivalent of ‘to like‘, in fact means ‘to please‘ or ‘to be pleasing‘.

The difficulty of this expression is that with it you have to get used to a different order of words from the English. Spanish, as is so often the case, is often subject to this varied word order, depending greatly on the importance of what is referred to.

So, as me is important, it is placed at the beginning of the sentence regardless of the fact it is the indirect object (i.e. it means to me) rather than the subject = I

The problem of course is that you have to change the indirect object pronouns to suit who is being referred to; here are the indirect object pronouns.

  • me – to me
  • te – to you
  • le – to him, her
  • le – to you (polite)
  • nos – to us
  • os – to you
  • les – to them
  • les – to you (polite plural)

The conditional form of gustar, which isgustaría, is the same whether it is used in the singular or in the plural and here is how it is formed.

  • me gustaría – I would like
  • te gustaría – you would like
  • le gustaría – he, she would like
  • le gustaría – you would like (polite)
  • nos gustaría – we would like
  • os gustaría – you would like
  • les gustaría – they would like
  • les gustaría – you would like (polite plural)

When to Use The Prepositional ‘a

When the pronoun le or les is used, it isn’t always clear who is the person that is doing the ‘liking‘. When this is the case, you should add the prepositional phrase a plus the person/s who is ‘liking‘. This is shown in the examples below. It should also be noted that even though the person is mentioned in the sentence the indirect-object pronoun should not be left out. The purpose of using the prepositional phrase is to make clear who the person is that is being referred to and not as a replacement for the indirect object pronoun.

  • A Juan le gustaría el coche. – Juan would like the car.
  • A Carlos le gustaría los zapatos. – Carlos would like the shoes.
  • ¿A ustedes les gustaría el coche? – Would you (plural) like the car?

The use of the prepositional ‘a‘ is not just for use when using gustar in the conditional tense but for whenever there is a need to clarify the person who persons who is ‘liking‘.

For example:

  • A Carlos le gusta el café – Carlos likes the coffee (The coffee pleases Carlos)
  • A Carlos le gustan los zapatos – Carlos likes the shoes (The shoes please Carlos)

write by Sophronia

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