Verbos Afectivos

In our language, you can find some very particular grammatical structures that in your language probably do not exist or are not common at all. This is the case of how we the Spanish speaker express that "we like something". Actually, in our language, we do not say "we like something" instead we say that "something pleases to us". Although in English, both ways express exactly the same meaning, only "I like something" is the most natural way while "something please to me" may sound a little uncommon for most English speakers. In other words, we approach the same idea from different perspectives, a situation that is denominated "language pragmatism".

Fortunately, these language pragmatism differences are not common between Spanish and English since most ideas can be translated from one language to another without major inconveniences. However, it is not the case if your mother tongue is an Asian language since in my experience there is a big pragmatic gap between romance languages and Asian ones. Fortunately, you are here because you speak English, therefore, the pragmatics differences must not represent a challenge to you. 

One of the most representative pragmatic cases between our languages are the "verbos afectivos" and among them the verb "gustar" (to like). As I said before, in Spanish, we do not say "you like something", instead, we say "something pleases to you". Therefore, the subject in the sentence is not "you" but "the thing" that is pleasing to you. On the other hand, the subject in English that suppose to be "you" becomes the object "te" in Spanish.

Let's see an example,


    You like chocolate

    "You" is the subject and "chocolate" the object in the sentence above.


    Te gusta el chocolate. ---> The chocolate please to you.  (note that the order of the sentence is opposite from English.)

    "El chocolate" is the subject and "you" the object in the sentence.

Here more examples,

    Me gusta tu casa

    Te gusta el gato

    ¿Te gusta mi amigo?

    Le gusta el café con leche.

    ¿Le gusta el helado de fresa?

    No nos gusta tu nuevo corte de cabello

    ¿Os gusta el español?

    No les gusta la pizza con piña.

At this point, you are wondering why the verb conjugation does not change. To understand why we have to take a look at the conjugation table of the verb "gustar" below. 

Tabla - Afectivos 1.jpg

The reason why the verb "gusta" does not change in the examples above is that the verb always must agree with the subject and in all the examples above the subjects refer to a singular person, animal or thing. Therefore, the only verb that agrees to a singular subject is "gusta" as shown in the table above. 

For example, 


    Me gusta tu casa. --> Your house please to me.

    Te gusta el gato. --> The cat please to you.

"Tu casa" and "el gato" are the subjects, and as I said before, they are singular and according to the conjugation table, the only verb that agrees with them is "gusta".

In the case that the subject is plural, for example, "The cars please to me" we must use "gustan" since this is the only verb that agrees with plural subjects according to the table above. 

For example,

    Me gustan los carros

    Te gustan estas películas de fantasía

    No le gustan las canciones de BTS. 😅

    Nos gustan los chocolates venezolanos. 

    Os gustan las cervezas alemanas. 

    Les gustan tus dibujos

What about if the subject is different from a singular or a plural noun? For example, if the subject is "you" like the following sentence below.

    I like you

In this particular case, we must find the verb that agrees with the subject "" (in Spanish), that according to the conjugation table correspond to the verb "gustas". Therefore, in Spanish would be as follows.

    Me gustas .  (in Spanish, it refers to a physical taste, not an effective one)

Gustar + Verbs

So far we have seen "gustar" + singular and plural nouns. What about "gustar" + verbs?

For example,

    Me gusta escuchar musica. --> Listening music please to me

There are some important things to mention about the example above. The first one is that "escuchar" is the subject and unlike English, in Spanish, we use infinitive verbs instead of the gerund. Second, just like English, we do not use articles in front of infinitive verbs. Third, "música" is the direct object, therefore, we do not use an article in front of it, unless we refer to a specific type of music. 

For example,

    Me gusta escuchar la música de Dua Lipa

Note: in case you want to use a direct object in the sentence above, you must attach it to the infinite verb. 

For example. 


    Me gusta escucharla

Important: regardless of the number of the object (singular or plural), you must always use "gusta" + infinitive verbs. "Gustan" + infinitive verbs is a common mistake for beginners. 

For example, 

    Me gusta comer helado 

    Me gusta comer helados 

    Me gustan comer helados 

Finally, let me mention that in Spanish we also use the "encantar" to express pleasantness. However, "encantar" has a stronger meaning. It could be translated as "love". 

For example, 

    Me encanta el café. 

    Nos encanta viajar. 

    Les encantan los videojuegos. 

Important: In Spanish, there are many ways to express pleasantness, below the different ways to express it from highest to lowest. 

    Yo adoro la comida mexicana.

    Yo amo la comida mexicana. 

    Me encanta la comida mexicana. 

    Me gusta la comida mexicana. 

También vs Tampoco

Tabla - Afectivos 3.jpg

As you see above, "también" and "tampoco" are used to show agreement. The difference between them is that "también" is used to answer a positive statement (me too) while "tampoco" is used to answer a negative one (me neither / either). Unlike English, in Spanish, we do not distinguish between "neither" and "neither". 


Tabla - Afectivos 2.jpg

Unlike "gustar", "molestar" is used to express discomfort or annoyance, and it is used the same way we use the verb "gustar" since it is also a "verbo afectivo". 

For example,

    Me molesta estudiar español los fines de semana. 

    Studying Spanish on weekends bothers me. 

    It bothers me to study Spanish on the weekends.

    Me molesta el reguetón

    ¿Te molesta el humo del cigarrillo?

    Le molestan los mosquitos toda la noche. 

    Nos molesta tu actitud negativa. 

    Me molestas tú y tus amigos

    ¿Os molestan los ruidos del vecino por la noche?

    No les molesta trabajar horas extras. 



Tabla - Afectivos 4.jpg

The verb "parecer" is also an "verbo afectivo". It means that it works the same way that previous verbs do it. Like "pensar" and "creer", "parecer" is very common and helpful to express opinions and ideas. 

For example, 


    La idea me parece maravillosa.                                    --> The idea seems good to me. 

    La película te parece aburrida.                                     -->  The movie seems boring to you. 

    La casa les parece cara.                                                -->  The house seems expensive to them. 

    Marta nos parece muy amable y guapa.                      --> Marta seems pretty to us. 

    El inglés nos parece muy fácil.                                      --> English seems very easy to us. 

    El metro de mi ciudad os parece muy moderno.        -->  The subway of my city seems modern to you. 

    Los estudiantes coreanos me parecen inteligentes.  --> Korean students seem intelligfent to me. 

    Las historias de terror le parecen divertidas.               --> Horror stories seem funny to him/her/you. 

    Los aviones nos parecen muy seguros.                       --> Airplanes seem very save to us. 


Additionally, in Spanish, it is possible the following structure. 


    (somethingme parece una idea maravillosa.                --> It seems a good idea to me.

    (Dothrakiles parece un idioma muy raro.                   --> It seems a very weird language to them. 

In the examples above, it is understood that there is a subject at the beginning of the sentence, however, this is omitted by the speaker since the speaker supposes that the listener knows what it refers to.


Parecer + que + verbs

     Me parece que ella es doctoral.                                                 

    ↪ It seems to me that she is a doctor.

    (A ella) le parece que beber café es bueno para la salud. 

    ↪ It seems to her that drinking coffee is good for the health.

    Nos parece que estudiar idiomas nos abre muchas puertas. 

    ↪ It seems to us that studying languages open many doors to us.

    Me parece que Rosio no le gusta el fútbol.   

     ↪ It seems to me that Rosio does not like football.

    Le parece que la comida picante no es deliciosa.

    ↪ It seems to him/her/you that spicy food is not delicious. 

    Te parece que comprar carros usados no es buen negocio. 

    ↪ It seems to you that buying second-hand cars is not a good business. 

    Me parece que los productos de Apple son muy caros. 

    ↪ It seems to me that Apple's products are very expensive.

    (A ellas) les parece que el taxista está un poco borracho/ebrio. 

    ↪ It seems to them that the taxi driver is a little drunk.

    Me parece que los niños están durmiendo. 

    ↪ It seems to me that the kids are sleeping.

    (A mis padres) les parece que los videojuegos son un desperdicio de tiempo. 

    ↪ It seems to my parents that video games are a waste of time. 

Now that you have learned how to use the "verbos afectivos", here is a list of "verbos afectivos" that are very helpful to speak Spanish. 


↪ to bore

Me aburre el futbol

Le aburre jugar futbol.


↪ to be fascinating to

Me fascina el chocolate

Le fascinan los chocolates.


↪ to be important to

No me importa tu opinión

Les importa mucho tu salud


↪ to be interesting to

Me interesa la econ0mía del país. 

Nos interesa estudiar idiomas.


↪ to be painful

Me duele el estomago

Nos duela la cabeza.


↪ to itch

Me pica el ojo

Les pica la espalda.


↪ to be left over, remain

Me queda un cigarillo.

Les queda un litro de agua.

Nos quedan 10 dólares.


↪ to be lacking something

Me falta un  zapato

Le faltan 5 mil dólares para pagar el carro.

*volver loco

↪ to be crazy about

Me vuelve loco la música del vecino. 😡

Nos vuelve loco el chocolate. 😍

Le vuelven local los cantantes de pop. 🤪