Difference Between Gusta and Gustan

By: | Updated: Jul-10, 2021
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In Spanish, there are two words that are similar to each other, namely “gusta” and “gustan”. These two words are often used interchangeably since they both mean “like”. However, they have different usage. For example, if you are talking about a “good movie”, you can say “gusta de ver un buen film”, but you cannot say “gustan de ver un buen film”. Why? What are the differences between “gusta” and “gustan”?

In this article, we will discuss the differences between “gusta” and “gustan”, their meanings, their lexical and grammatical differences, and how they are used in the Spanish language. So, let’s begin.

Summary Table:

Gusta Gustan
Is used for singular noun Is used for plural noun
Is a verb meaning “to like” Is a noun that means “something liked”
More formal More informal


Difference Between Gusta and Gustan

Before we talk about the differences between “gusta” and “gustan”, let’s first define what we mean by “gusta” and “gustan.” To do this, we need to take a look back at the definitions and meanings of these two words, as well as understand what they mean in Spanish.

What is “gusta”?

In Spanish, this word means to be delicious, tasty, or pleasing to the taste. It is used to refer to food that is not healthy but you enjoy eating it because it tastes good. Gusta can also be used when you like something or someone so much that you cannot stand it or get enough of it. For example, you say “Oh, I like him so much!” and when he is around you always want to talk to him. Or when you want to find a restaurant that serves delicious food, you ask your friends what restaurants they like and then choose the one that they recommend.

What is “gustan”?

Gustan is a verb in Spanish. It also means to like, enjoy, be fond of, or like something very much. For example, when you want to buy a new phone and your friend recommends a specific one that he uses and loves because it is the best on the market, you can say “Oh I would love to have that phone!” or “I would like to have a new phone.”

Gustan is also used in Spanish when you want to make a comment about something or someone that you like. For example, if your friend tells you about a restaurant that she likes and how good the food is, you can say “Oh, I would love to go there!” or “I would like to go there.”

Technically, both words are the same in terms of meaning. But sometimes, “gustan” is the verb and “gusta” is the noun. However, it can be used as a noun as well. In Spanish, “gustan” is not always followed by a definite article.

As you can see, both words have the same meaning. However, they are used differently in Spanish depending on how they are used in a sentence. Let’s now take a look at how these two words are used in Spanish.

Gusta Vs. Gustan:

As you may know, there are several words that have a similar meaning. For example, “gusta” and “gustan” are both used to describe something that one likes. However, they have different meanings and usages. Now, let’s take a look at the differences between “gusta” and “gustan”.

1. The meaning

Gusta is a verb meaning “to like”, while gustan is a noun that means “something liked”. The word “gusta” has the same meaning as the English verb “like”, while “gustan” is similar to the English noun “liked” that describes more about the object.

For example:

Qué te gusta? – What do you like?

Te gustan los libros de cuentos? – Do you like storybooks?

2. The relation to singular or plural subject

As we mentioned above, “gusta” and “gustan” have the same meaning. However, when we use them in the plural form, “gustan” is used instead of “gusta”. The same applies to the singular form, we will need to use gusta instead of gustan. This is actually the most significant difference between “gusta” and “gustan.”

3. Usage in Spanish-speaking countries

Gusta is a more formal word, and you should use it when you are speaking to your parents or other relatives. It is also used in many situations where “gustan” is not always appropriate.

On the other hand, gustan is a more informal word that you can use when you are speaking to your friends or to your colleagues. You can also use it in situations where “gusta” would be more personal, for example: when talking about your hobbies or when talking about your favorite foods.

4. The popularity

Gusta is used in the Spanish-speaking countries such as Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Spain. It should be noted that the difference between “gusta” and “gustan” may not be relevant to other countries, such as the United States or France. But, the word “gusta” is widely used in Spain, so you can always use it when you are speaking Spanish.

5. The pronunciation

In Spanish, “gusta” is pronounced as “gu-sta”. The word “gustan” is pronounced as “gu-stan”. The difference between the two is that “gustan” has a long “a” in it, while “gusta” does not.

6. The situations to use “gusta” and “gustan”

When you are speaking in Spanish, you can use either “gusta” or “gustan”. In many cases, it depends on the situation. For example: if you are talking about something that your friend likes, you can use “gustan” instead of “gusta”. However, if you are talking about something that your parents like, you can use “gusta”.

Also, remember that “gustan” is used when the thing that we are talking about is liked by a group of people. However, if we are talking about something that only one person likes, we can use “gusta”.

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