Spanish Language Learning – Help me understand: “Te Amo”/”Te Odio” vs “Me Gustas”

TLDR: “Te amo” and “Te odio” are “I love you” and “I hate you”, but “Me gustas” is “I like you”. Using the concept and order shared by the first two would reverse the meaning of the 3rd, what makes it different?

I have asked several native speakers, and they all have been rather stumped (which is understandable, as we typically don’t think of our first language in this way).

I learn much more quickly through the understanding of concepts than I do through repetition, so I was thrilled when I noticed the concept behind “Te Amo” and “Te Odio”.

The concepts in this case being (from my initial understanding):

*I will mostly avoid using English grammar terms such a ‘objective/subjective pronoun’ as I am not sure if these concepts translate directly between languages.*

1: The person who is doing or feeling a verb can be described by a suffix on the word, and those suffixes seem consistent enough to be used for most words(my assumption being that changing the suffix to “o”, “as”/”es”, or “en”/”an” would change a verb’s origin/actor to “me”, “you”, or “they” respectively),
[Odio, Odias, Odian] and [Quiero, Quieras, Quieren].

2: If the target or thing affected by a verb is a person or thing that is already understood and does not need to be specifically described (if it can be described with a pronoun in English), then it comes first. That ‘pronoun’-like word is slightly different from other ‘pronoun’-like words in the language, likely implying something that would be beneficial to understand. (“Te” vs “Tu”, “Me” vs “Yo”)

3: The order is directly reversed from that of English. Examples of the order of information processed by the listener(or more accurately, knowledge the listener would have if the speaker stopped speaking during that point in the sentence):

-English: “**I**.. *[The person speaking is about to tell me something about THEM]* **love** *[They LOVE someone or something, and I’m about to find out who or what]* **you**. *[The person loves ME]*”

-Spanish: “**Te** *[The person speaking is about to tell me something about ME]* **am**- *[someone/thing LOVES me, and I’m about to find out who(though, if there are other longer words starting with “**am**” you couldn’t know it was LOVE for certain until the end?]* -**o**(**Amo**) *[the person loves ME]*

Using these concepts, if I wanted to say “I like you”, I would think to say “Te Gusto!”(like “Te amo” or “Te odio”), but this would be understood with the two subjects reversed meaning “You like me!”.

“I like you” is actually “Me gustas”, which following the “Te Amo” concept, would mean “You like me.”

Now, this may just be one of those quirks in the evolution of a language(I’m sure English has plenty of them as well), but I’m hoping that there is a deeper reasoning for this that can help me better understand the language. Thanks for reading!



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6 Comments

  1. 0bito March 12, 2022
  2. AutoModerator March 12, 2022
  3. e-spero March 12, 2022
  4. dalvi5 March 12, 2022
  5. siyasaben March 12, 2022
  6. ClaraFrog March 12, 2022
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