Do you like to travel? Do you like chocolate? We use verb ‘to like’ (in Portuguese: Gostar) so often that it is a good idea to master it in your new language.
Yet Gostar is a verb that I often see Portuguese speakers, even advanced ones, using incorrectly. It happens especially with English speakers and Spanish speakers, although the reasons are different.
Today I hope to help you use the verb Gostar correctly and with confidence. I hope to make it easy for you to understand how to use it. The rest will depend on your willingness to practice.
Here is the lesson:
The verb Gostar: Conjugation
Let’s start from the beginning and look at the conjugation of Gostar in the simple present and past tenses. I will use these tenses in the examples.
Gostar is a regular verb ending in –Ar. It doesn’t get easier than this when it comes to conjugations, right?
Presente do Indicativo (Present Tense)
Pretérito Perfeito do Indicativo (Past Tense)
So, What Causes So Much Trouble?
The verb Gostar causes a lot of trouble to Spanish speakers because its conjugation in Spanish is completely different from the conjugation in Portuguese. In Portuguese, we conjugate Gostar like any other regular verb. It is not reflexive or pronominal in Portuguese.
How about English speakers? Here is the reason why the verb Gostar causes problems to English speakers: It always requires the preposition DE. Always.
Here are examples:
- Eu gosto de = I like chocolate.
- Eu gosto de = I like to travel.
Wait! There’s More
Sometimes you need to contract the preposition DE with the definite articles a, o, as, os.
You need to do this when you are talking about something specific.
Look at these examples:
- Eu gosto de = I like chocolate.
- Eu gosto do chocolate Ghirardelli. = I like Guirardelli chocolate.
- Eu gosto de = I like the beach.
- Eu gosto da praia de Ipanema. = I like Ipanema beach.
As you can see in the examples above, when you are talking about something specific:
- Use DA in front of a feminine noun (or DAS for plural)
- Use DO in front of a masculine noun (or DOS for plural)
When you have Gostar with a Verb
This is very easy. Always use DE in front of verbs and the verb comes in the infinitive:
- Gosto de comer chocolate. = I like to eat chocolate.
- Ele gosta de cozinhar. = He likes to cook.
Contracting De with Esse, Essa
The preposition DE also contracts with the demonstrative pronouns.
- Não gosto desse = I don’t like this chocolate.
- Gosto dessa = I like this store.
- Eu sei que você não gosta disso. = I know that you don’t like this.
- Diana não gosta daquele = Diana doesn’t like that restaurant.
Contracting De with Ele, Ela
The preposition DE also contracts with the personal pronouns Ele and Ela (and the plural forms).
- Você conhece o João? Você gosta dele? = Do you know João? Do you like him?
- Davi não gosta da Ana, mas eu gosto dela. = Davi doesn’t like Ana, but I like her.
Where to Place the Word Muito
If you want to say that you like something a lot, place the word Muito right after the verb Gostar and before the object of your affection.
- Gosto muito de chocolate. = I like chocolate very much.
- Não gosto muito de nadar. = I don’t like swimming very much.
Caution: Expressing Likes and Dislikes
There is an interesting difference between the way we express opinions using the verb Gostar in Portuguese and the verb to like in English. I have a lesson on the topic. Be sure to visit this lesson so you can express your likes and dislikes correctly.
Translate the following sentences to Portuguese. The answers are at the end of the post.
- Joana likes to travel.
- Joana liked the trip to Brazil a lot.
- Cris likes cake.
- Cris doesn’t like my cakes.
- Ana likes you a lot. Do you like her?
- I don’t like that doctor.
I hope you will find this lesson useful! One thing that we learners need to keep in mind is that understanding a lesson is not the same as learning it. How many times we go to class, understand everything, but have trouble answering questions or solving problems afterwards? Practice is the key to learning for real. Make sure you practice your Portuguese so you can use grammar and vocabulary correctly and with confidence.
Street Smart Brazil offers Brazilian Portuguese lessons via Skype. It is a simple, effective, and convenient way to learn Portuguese with friendly and professional instructors.
Answers to the practice exercise
- Joana gosta de viajar.
- Joana gostou muito da viagem ao Brasil.
- Cris gosta de bolo.
- Cris não gosta dos meus bolos.
- Ana gosta muito de você. Você gosta dela?
- Não gosto daquele médico.