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Gustar vs Encantar vs Amar

Let’s learn the verbs Encantar and Bastar, which are two important Spanish verbs that work a lot like Gustar. We’ll practice these new Spanish “affective” verbs in a variety of sentence contexts.

Full Podcast Episode


Te encantará.

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re going to practice the Spanish verb Encantar, which means something like “to enchant”. Here’s the most common use of this verb:

Those books enchanted me when I was a kid(f).

Esos libros me encantaban cuando era niña.

So what the speaker here means is that she greatly enjoyed those books when she was a kid. Notice the structure of the sentence: The subject is the books, and the person who’s speaking, me, is the recipient of the enchantment. Here’s another example where we’re going to use a third person:

That place enchants him.

Ese lugar le encanta.

Hmm, so why do we use le instead of lo? And anyway, why is the verb for “enchant” so common in Spanish?

Well, first of all, Encantar takes indirect objects and not direct objects. In that way, it’s a lot like Gustar, Importar, and Doler.

And then the reason that this verb is so common is because it actually isn’t typically translated as “enchant”. Instead, what it tends to mean is that something is very, very pleasing to someone, or that someone enjoys it very much. Compare these two sentences:

I like that movie.

Me gusta esa película.

I love that movie!

¡Me encanta esa película!

So basically, Encantar is essentially a synonym of Gustar, but a bit stronger. And it functions in the exact same way as Gustar. In general, when you talk about “liking” something, you’ll use Gustar. But you’ll use Encantar if you talk about *really* liking something, or “loving” something, but what you mean is not literal “love”.

So the thing is, the word “love” in English translates a few different ways into Spanish. When we’re talking about love between people, you’ll typically use Amar or Querer. But if you’re talking about loving an inanimate object, you’ll almost always restructure the sentence and use Encantar. Here’s another example:

I love that kind of food!

¡Me encanta ese tipo de comida!

So the general rule is that Querer and Amar are for people and specific animals that you have a personal relationship with, but Encantar is for inanimate objects and categories of things. In this next example, we’ll talk about loving dogs, but what we mean is not specific relational love that you feel toward specific dogs; we’re talking about a general feeling of delight around dogs.

I love dogs, but my brother doesn’t like them.

Me encantan los perros, pero a mi hermano no le gustan.

Let’s get some practice with Encantar with a quiz. This verb is conjugated exactly like Hablar and Gustar, so you should be able to predict the Spanish. But in this quiz I’m also going to throw in one or two uses of Amar so that you can practice choosing between them.

He loved the food.

Le encantó la comida.

She has loved those movies since she was a kid.

Le han encantado esas películas desde que era niña.

She wants me to play those songs because she loves them.

Quiere que toque esas canciones porque le encantan.

They love their wives.

Aman a sus esposas.

She would love not only those phones, but also those things.

Le encantarían no solo esos teléfonos, sino también esas cosas.

She loved playing with her friends.

Le encantaba jugar con sus amigos.

Play that song! I’d love to hear it.

¡Toca esa canción! Me encantaría escucharla.

She will love playing in the snow.

Le encantará jugar en la nieve.

She loves the building opposite to her house.

Le encanta el edificio frente a su casa.

I love my girlfriend and I want to marry her.

Amo a mi novia y quiero casarme con ella.

We loved those games.

Nos encantaban esos juegos.

Can you play something for us? I think she is going to love it.

¿Puedes tocar algo para nosotros? Creo que a ella le va a encantar.

Before we move on, note that in real-life Spanish, sometimes people do actually use Amar with inanimate objects, for example amo esa película or amo esa comida. This is done for hyperbole, as if to express deep affection for an inanimate object. This isn’t super frequent, but just be aware that you’ll hear it once in a while. For the purpose of our quizzing, though, you should just translate “love” for an inanimate object as Encantar.

Before we go on to today’s final quiz, let’s also touch on another verb that works in a way very similar to Gustar and Encantar and Importar. Check out this sentence:

This house is small, but it’s enough to satisfy me.

Esta casa es pequeña, pero me basta.

So the verb here is Bastar, which means something like “to be enough” or “to suffice”. This verb is not extremely frequent except for the form basta, which we’ve already learned as an interjection to mean “enough” or “stop”; that interjection comes from this verb.

Here’s one case where you might use the conditional form of Bastar:

Would this be enough to shut them up?

¿Esto bastaría para callarlos?

So here instead of using Bastar with an indirect object, we used para after it. In this case, what Bastar might mean is something like “do the trick”; “would this do the trick to shut them up”. So Bastar doesn’t just refer to quantity, or having enough of something; it also refers to being satisfactory, or fulfilling a specific purpose correctly. Try it yourself in this next example:

This food will do the trick for her.

Esta comida le bastará.

Let’s get some practice using Bastar with indirect objects and with para. We’re going to translate it both as “to be enough” and as “to do the trick”, or sometimes as “to suffice”, which is the literal translation.

Three hours are enough for her.

Le bastan tres horas.

One person does the trick for this job.

Una persona basta para este trabajo.

That food will suffice for the party.

Esa comida bastará para la fiesta.

One dog is enough for us.

Nos basta un perro.

Ten people did the trick for the project.

Bastaban diez personas para el proyecto.

That food was enough for them when they were next to that building.

Les bastaba esa comida cuando estaban junto a ese edificio.

One piece of advice would do the trick for you in order to reach your dream.

Un consejo te bastaría para llegar a tu sueño.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/222. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

I don’t want them to touch any game, except this one.

No quiero que toquen ningún juego, salvo este.

She hasn’t played the piano in a while.

No ha tocado el piano en un tiempo.

You’re going to love the lake, because you love nature.

Te va a encantar el lago, porque te encanta la naturaleza.

Two plants beside the house did the trick for that.

Bastaban dos plantas al lado de la casa para eso.

I don’t want you to play that song during the storm.

No quiero que toques esa canción durante la tormenta.

He touched that game because he loved it.

Tocó ese juego porque le encantó.

If you touch her arm, it will hurt her.

Si tocas su brazo, le dolerá.

I have loved all those games.

Me han encantado todos esos juegos.

My mom doesn’t want me to touch the sea.

Mi mamá no quiere que toque el mar.

I used to love the forest, especially with rain.

Me encantaba el bosque, sobre todo con lluvia.

My arm hurt me because of the sun at the beach.

El brazo me dolió por el sol en la playa.

He is safe even though his head hurts because of going after her.

Está a salvo aunque le duele la cabeza por ir tras ella.

I love those islands and I would love to go back there.

Me encantan esas islas y me encantaría volver ahí.

Apparently, two people are enough for the job.

Al parecer, dos personas bastan para el trabajo.

In the face of a problem, your advice would do the trick.

Ante un problema, tu consejo bastaría.

She loves the moon and the river.

Le encantan la luna y el río.

One thing did the trick for him.

Le bastaba una cosa.

One dog has done the trick for them to be safe and happy.

Les ha bastado un perro para estar salvos y felices.

The music sounds good when I play it.

La música suena bien cuando yo la toco.

It’s your turn; you used to love playing this before.

Te toca; te encantaba jugar esto antes.

We have loved all the trees.

Nos han encantado todos los árboles.

That money could do the trick and I would love to have it.

Ese dinero podría bastar y me encantaría tenerlo.

This could hurt, so just one won’t do the trick.

Esto podría doler, entonces solo uno no bastará.

Don’t play that! I don’t love it.

¡No toques eso! No me encanta.

The phone has to ring in order for them to touch it.

El teléfono tiene que sonar para que ellos lo toquen.

Just one song is enough; you sound sick.

Una sola canción basta; suenas enfermo.

We’ll love going to the forest.

Nos encantará ir al bosque.

You are going to love this movie.

Te va a encantar esta película.

We would love more dogs.

Nos encantarían más perros.

We used to love those books, so I think we’ll love the movie.

Nos encantaban esos libros, así que creo que nos encantará la película.

She has been playing the guitar for hours.

Ha estado tocando la guitarra por horas.

(Formal) Don’t touch that! You didn't love it last time.

¡No toque eso! No le encantó la última vez.

This piece of advice does the trick for our project.

Este consejo basta para nuestro proyecto.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/222.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll wrap up our essential work on Spanish numbers by learning and practicing the words for “thousand” and “million”.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Ximena Lama-Rondón. Our music was performed by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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