Finite verbs: to like, to love, to bother

There are verbs where the subject becomes the object and vice versa. In linguistic terms, finite verbs. Hence, the equation below for the function of “x” being less than infinity, for their symbol.
finite 2
We have them in English: “It takes me 20 minutes to cook”, “It seems to him”, “it disappoints me”, and others.

In Spanish, many of these finite verbs have to do with with tastes and emotions, including…


present tense conjugation

gustar present

“gustar” present tense

¡Toma nota!

  1. The conjugation is completely reverse to other verbs. There is no subject pronoun because most of the time the subject is in the 3rd person singular, sometimes plural.
  2. Rarely are the 1st  & 2nd person used as the subject. Object pronouns are required to do that, but there is no “lo” or “la“, “los” or “las“, or even “se .
  3. Instead it’s: “le” (sing) & “les” (plural) — for both masculine and feminine, persons and objects.


Are you scratching your head again, asking yourself, “How do I know, if it’s a boy or a girl, with just one pronoun?” Because you should. How else will a Spanish waiter know if the order is for your son, daughter, male or female friend?


No te preocupes. Normalmente esta estructura está precedida por la preposición “amás el pronombre para distinguir la persona.


Don’t worry. This structure is often preceded by the preposition a (to)+ the prepositional pronoun to distiguish the person.

Unos ejemplos en español:

  • A él le gusta la paella.
  • A ella no le gustan los arroces.
  • ¿A ellos les gusta comer?
  • ¿A ellas no les gusta beber?


  • He likes paella.
  • She doesn’t like rices.
  • Do they like to eat?
  • Don’t they [females] like to drink?



¡Mira el consejo!

Try and think of this prepositional phrase as your subject pronoun to help you with finite verbs. Even when not using the third person, “a + prep prn” is often added. Just make sure to include the OBJECT PRONOUN, too. Ejemplos:

  • A mí me gusta la cerveza. (I like beer)
  • ¿A ti te gustan las cervezas artesanas? (Do you like craft beers?)
  • A nosotros no nos gusta la carne. (We don’t like meat)

*These pronouns are also how you will claim a meal, using a perposition which should be familiar:


A pronoun chart

Spanish prepositional pronouns

Spanish prepositional pronouns with “to”



… para recibir tu comida.


[a (to) + prep prn +] obj prn + verb 3rd person [sub prn] =

Sub prn + verb conjugated + obj prn


Take a second and let this new linguistic equation sink in. As we’ve mentioned before, it’s critical to conjugate finite verbs correctly. See what happens if you do a direct translation from English to Spanish and what a Spaniard hears:



“I like Spanish food and wine”.

Traducción literal

“Yo gusto a la comida española y al vino español”.

Lo que un español entiende

“Spanish food and Spanish wine like me”.


Who knew food and beverage could feel an affinity toward a person?




… is the model for a group of other finite verbs, who are conjugated exactly the same way.

Haz click para ver algunos

belong to -ar family, often finite

belong to -ar family, often finite

Important finite verbs, which are irregular or belong to other verb families, include:

Haz click para ver y escuchar

  • saber
    (to taste like) [nonfinite: to know]
  • caer
    bien, mal (Literal [read: incorrect] translation: to fall well; bad. Correct: to get along, not get along; like. )
  • sentar
    bien, mal (to sit well, not sit well)
  • volver
    loco (to go crazy)
  • apetecer (to feel like )
  • dar asco
    (to disgust, be disgusting)


¡No te tropieces!

A common mistake is the use of  “disgustar” for “disgust”. It means “to disappoint; be disappointing”. “Dar asco” (literal [read: incorrect] translation: “to give me, you, him, her, etc, disgust) is the correct verb:

Then there are verbs which can be both finite and nonfinite, depending on the meaning. These verbs are shared by both Spanish and English speakers.

Pulsa aquí para verlos

  1. parecer
    (to seem)
  2. oler (to smell)
  3. sonar (to sound)


Sugerencia de Paco. Apunta estos verbos finitos como favoritos en el App y revisa sus conjugaciones. La mayoría de veces siguen el modelo de gustar. También toma unos minutos para memorizar los pronombres que van con las preposiciones “a” y “para”. No hay ningún punto de la gramática que trate con este tema.


Mark these finite verbs as your favorites in the dictionary and review their conugations. Most of the time they will follow gustar. Also, take a few moments to memorize the prepositional pronuns that go with “a” (to) and “para” (for). There’s no grammar point that deals with this topic.


[WpProQuiz 19]


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