Do you like to travel? Do you like chocolate? We use verb ‘to like’ so often that it is a good idea to master the verb gostar in Portuguese.
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 in Portuguese. I hope to make it easy for you to understand how to use it.
Present and past tense of the verb Gostar in Portuguese
Let’s start from the beginning and look at the conjugation of Gostar in the simple present and simple past tenses. I will use these tenses in the examples in this lesson.
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)
What causes so much trouble?
The verb Gostar causes a lot of trouble to Spanish speakers because the verb “gustar” means to please, and not to like. Therefore, the subject and the object of the sentences are inversed in Spanish. In Portuguese, on the other hand, the verb gostar means to like, just as in English.
For English speakers, the verb gostar in Portuguese causes problems because it requires the preposition DE after it.
- Eu gosto de = I like chocolate.
- Eu gosto de = I like to travel.
As it happens whenever you use the preposition de, sometimes you need to contract the preposition with the definite articles a, o, as, os to agree with the gender and number of the object that the preposition refer to.
Therefore, to use the verb gostar correctly, you need to know when to use de, do, da, dos or das.
Using the preposition correctly with the verb Gostar
When you are talking about a general like or dislike, use the preposition DE.
When you are talking about something specific, use a contraction.
Look at these examples:
- Eu gosto de chocolate. = I like chocolate.
- Quando eu era criança, eu gostava do chocolate Sonho de Valsa. = When I was a child, I liked Sonho de Valsa chocolate.
- Eu gosto de praia. = I like the beach.
- Eu gosto da praia de Ipanema. = I like Ipanema beach.
- Você gosta de pizza? = Do you like pizza?
- Você gostou da pizza que eu fiz? = Did you like the pizza I made?
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)
Use DE when you use Gostar with a Verb
This is very easy. When you talk about liking or disliking an activity: 1) always use DE in front of the verb; 2) the verb comes in the infinitive:
- Gosto de comer chocolate. = I like to eat chocolate.
- Ele gosta de cozinhar. = He likes to cook.
- Ana não gosta de ir à praia. = Ana doesn’t like to go to the beach.
Contracting De with Esse, Essa
The preposition DE also contracts with the demonstrative pronouns.
- Não gosto desse chocolate. = I don’t like this chocolate.
- Gosto dessa loja. = I like this store.
- Eu sei que você não gosta disso. = I know that you don’t like this.
- Diana não gosta daquele restaurante. = 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 very much, place the word muito right after the verb gostar and before the object of your like or dislike.
- Gosto muito de chocolate. = I like chocolate very much.
- Não gosto muito de nadar. = I don’t like swimming very much.
An exception: When the verb GOSTAR is not followed by the preposition DE
The verb gostar in Portuguese is pretty much always followed by the preposition DE when you state the object of your like or dislike, as I showed you in the examples above.
There is one interesting situation in which the verb gostar is not followed by DE: It is when you say that you like (or don’t like) when (quando) something happens (or doesn’t happen). For instance:
- Eu gosto quando você faz cafuné em mim. = I like it when you caress me by running your fingers through my hair.
- Eu não gosto quando você fica nervoso. = I don’t like it when you get nervous.
Likes and dislikes: Additional examples with the verb Gostar
- Eu não gosto muito de bolo, mas gosto muito do bolo de abacaxi que minha mãe faz. = I don’t really like cake but I really like the pineapple cake my mom makes.
- Paula gosta de feijoada, mas ela não gosta da feijoada do restaurante perto lá de casa. = Paula likes feijoada, but she doesn’t like the feijoada from the restaurant close to my place.
- Minha mãe gosta de café, e gosta especialmente do café Três Corações. = My mom likes coffee, and she especially likes Três Corações coffee.
- Você gosta de cozinhar? = Do you like cooking?
- Eu gosto muito de malhar, mas não gosto de correr. = I really like working out but I don’t like running.
- Camila gosta de viajar, mas não gosta de cruzeiros. = Camila likes to travel but doesn’t like cruises.
- Você gosta de ler? Eu gosto muito de ler. = Do you like to read? I really like to read.
- Andréa gosta de cinema, mas não gosta de comédias. Ela gosta muito do cinema brasileiro. = Andréa likes movies, but doesn’t like comedies. She really likes Brazilian cinema.
- Quem não gosta de sair com os amigos pra comer e conversar? = Who doesn’t like to go out with friends to eat and chat?
- Gostei muito da festa de Isabel. = I really enjoyed Isabel’s party.
Get to practice the verb Gostar
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? Putting what you learn in practice is the key to learning for real. Make sure you use your Portuguese so you can use grammar and vocabulary correctly and with confidence.
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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.