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Gusta vs. Gustan: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on November 17, 2023
"Gusta" means "likes" for singular nouns, while "Gustan" is for plural nouns, both in Spanish, indicating pleasure or approval.

Key Differences

"Gusta" is used in Spanish when referring to a singular object that someone likes or enjoys. On the other hand, "Gustan" is utilized when the subject of liking or enjoyment comprises multiple items or a plural noun.
In sentences, "Gusta" usually follows singular nouns or verbs, indicating a singular source of pleasure. Conversely, "Gustan" accompanies plural nouns, signifying multiple objects of affection or enjoyment.
Grammatically, "Gusta" is singular, aligning with the verb "to like" in English when the object of liking is singular. In contrast, "Gustan" is plural, similar to saying "are pleasing to" when multiple objects are involved.
"Gusta" is often seen in sentences where the subject enjoys an activity, represented by an infinitive verb following "gusta." Whereas "Gustan" appears when the activities or things that please the subject are numerous and require a plural form.
The usage of "Gusta" and "Gustan" also considers the indirect object pronoun, preceding either term to indicate who is doing the liking, but the choice between "Gusta" and "Gustan" always depends on the number of entities causing pleasure.

Comparison Chart



Typical Usage

Accompanies singular nouns/verbs
Accompanies plural nouns

English Equivalent

"Likes" for singular
"Likes" for plural, or "are pleasing to"

Example Objects

One activity, one item
Multiple activities, items

Sentence Structure

Requires agreement with the singularity of the object
Requires agreement with the plurality of the object

Gusta and Gustan Definitions


Indicates approval or pleasure for a singular noun or activity.
Me gusta el chocolate.


Used for expressing liking or pleasure towards plural nouns.
Me gustan los libros.


Agrees with singular verbs or nouns to indicate liking.
No me gusta correr.


Requires agreement with plural nouns to express enjoyment.
No me gustan los días fríos.


Used to express enjoyment or preference towards a singular entity.
¿Te gusta viajar?


Reflects a preference or fondness for several items or activities.
A nosotros nos gustan los deportes.


Reflects pleasure or preference for one item or activity.
A él le gusta leer.


Indicates that the subject enjoys or approves of multiple items.
A ellos les gustan las películas de acción.


Spanish for "likes" when the subject of liking is singular.
A Ana le gusta la música.


Spanish term for "likes" when multiple objects are involved.
¿Te gustan las frutas?


Are "Gusta" and "Gustan" dependent on the subject or object number?

They depend on the number of objects, not the subject.

Does "Gusta" only apply to activities?

No, "Gusta" can refer to singular nouns or activities.

Can "Gustan" be used for a list of liked activities?

Yes, if there are multiple activities, use "Gustan."

Can "Gusta" be used with verbs?

Yes, with singular verbs indicating activities.

What's an example of "Gustan" with multiple objects?

"Me gustan las manzanas y las naranjas."

Does English have an exact translation for "Gustan"?

Not precisely, but "are pleasing to" is close.

Can these words express dislike?

With negation (no), they can express dislike.

Can "Gusta" and "Gustan" be used interchangeably?

No, "Gusta" is for singular, and "Gustan" for plural objects.

How does the indirect object impact "Gusta" vs. "Gustan"?

It doesn't; these terms depend on the direct object's number.

Can you provide an example of "Gusta" with a verb?

"Me gusta nadar."

Can "Gustan" be used for collective nouns?

It depends on the context, but usually, collective nouns take "Gusta."

Are there exceptions in the usage of "Gusta" and "Gustan"?

Rare exceptions exist based on regional uses.

Is "Gustan" used with plural verbs?

Typically, it's used with plural nouns, not verbs.

Is the verb "gustar" irregular?

No, but its usage is different from regular verbs.

Is there a rule for "Gusta" with infinitive verbs?

It's commonly used with infinitives, as they're singular.

Can "Gusta" cover general preferences?

Yes, it can express general likes for singular concepts.

What if I don't know when to use "Gusta" or "Gustan"?

Consider the number of objects you're referring to.

Can "Gustan" refer to a group of mixed items?

Yes, if the items are plural and diverse.

What happens with "Gusta" and "Gustan" in negative sentences?

The number rule still applies, but with negation, e.g., "No me gusta/gustan."

Can "Gusta" be used for non-tangible items?

Yes, it can be used for abstract singular concepts.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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