Do you remember how you identify the subject? The subject ALWAYS agrees with the verb, I mean, they refer to the same person (1st, 2nd or 3rd) and the same number (singular or plural). Also, the subject indicates who does the action indicated by the verb. Then, if I say:

Yo canto una canción.

Nosotros cantamos una canción.

It’s true that una canción is singular and the same happens to the verb. Although una canción is not 1st person. In this case the subject in the first sentence is yo (I, 1st person singular) and the subject in second sentence is nosotros (we, 1st person, plural). Don’t forget that yo (I) and nosotros (we) are doing the action (to sing) indicated by the verb. It makes sense, right?

What happens if I say me gustan las matemáticas? The translation into English is “I like Maths”. In my opinion, I consider appropriate to analyse the English sentence:

I like Maths.

Like” refers to a singular person and Maths is a plural word. Apart from that, the action of “like” is done by a person (I ). As a result, I is the subject in the sentence I like Maths . English version in this case is completely normal and understandable. However, Spanish decided to be a bit more complicated in this case. Why am I saying that? Continue to read!

Me gustan las matemáticas.

It’s true that I like Maths, but when you use some verbs in Spanish such as gustar (to like), or encantar (to love), the subject IS NOT the person who likes or love something, the subject is the thing or the activity which causes you fulfilment. Read the sentence again and ask my question, please.

Me gustan las matemáticas.

What makes you happy and causes you fulfilment? Think carefully… there is only one possibility and you got it right! Maths are the reason of your fulfilment in this case (it could be Spanish though!). then las matemáticas (Maths) is going to be the subject in this sentence!

Me gustan las matemáticas (subject).

You can do other verification. Las matemáticas is plural and 3rd person, right? And gustan is plural and 3rd person. Of course, we can be more than sure after this check that Las matemáticas is the subject.

Try to guess the subject in the following sentences (the answer is at the end of this post):

-Me gustan las películas de acción.

-Te gusta el chocolate caliente.

-Me gusta leer novelas de misterio.

-No me gusta la lluvia.

-Nos gusta mucho tomar café.

WHEN DO WE USE “N”?

As I explained before, the “n” is used when the subject is 3rd person and plural. Then if you’re saying that you like a singular thing, you won’t need the “n” (I like this horror film). However, if you want to say that you like a plural thing, the “n” in the verb is compulsory to indicate the plural (I like horror films).

Me gusta esta película de terror.

Me gustan las películas de terror.

Have you understood? Also, if you say that you like doing an activity, you must use an infinitive and the subject will start with the infinitive verb:

Me gusta leer novelas de misterio.

You’re saying that you like an activity (reading) and you know that verbs are words which describes actions; hence we are going to use the infinitive.

What do you think about this post? Has it been useful? I hope so! Let me know in the comments below! Apart from that, you can contact me> belriesco@outlook.com .

I see you in the next post! Have a lovely day!

Letras en Español – Ms. Riesco Almeida ©

ANSWERS

Me gustan las películas de acción. Subject > las películas de acción.

Te gusta el chocolate caliente. Subject > el chocolate caliente.

Me gusta leer novelas de misterio. Subject > leer novelas de misterio.

No me gusta la lluvia. Subject > la lluvia

Nos gusta mucho tomar café. Subject > tomar café  

REFERENCES

Anderson, C. et al. (2016): GCSE AQA Spanish for the grade 9-1 Course. Newcastle upon Tyne (UK): CGP

RAE (online): Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas. gustar | Diccionario panhispánico de dudas | RAE – ASALE

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