How to talk about your hobby in German or what you like to do? How to express sympathy for a person? For this we need the multifunctional verbs  gefallen, mögen and lieben.

In the first part of the article, we talked about the expression “like” in relation to activities and food. But we can also like objects and people.

This is where one of the most versatile and convenient verbs with the meaning “to like” comes into play – gefallen . And we will talk about it in more detail.


First, gefallen is used for almost everything (except actions): “I like this book“, “I like this city“, “I like you” and even “I like this soup“. Secondly, it is a strong verb with an inflected root vowel and is in the same group as the verb fallen. 

In practice, of the above forms of the verb, we need only three: du – gefällst / er, sie, es – gefällt / sie – gefallen.  

This is very important, it is in this verb that beginners make most mistakes.  The object or subject that you or someone likes will be the subject and the verb is conjugated based on its gender and number, and the one who likes it will be in Dative 

We can use the verb gefallen if we like someone: 
Du gefällst mir. – I like you.
Er gefällt ihr. – She likes him. 
At the same time, he does not carry any secret meaning in himself and simply demonstrates a personal disposition. 
Remeber! Gefallen is universal.


In addition, you can say “I like” with the verb mögen, which we discussed in the first part of the article, talking about food.
Ich mag Musik .– I like music.
Ich mag es nicht, dass sie ein Piercing hat. – I don’t like that she has piercings.
Ich mag fernsehen. – I like watching TV. 

We can also use mögen when talking about someone, and that someone will be in Accusative:
Ich mag dich. – I like you.
Sie mag ihn. – He likes him.
Du magst sie nicht. – You don’t like her / You can’t stand her. 

(!) In relation to people there is a pitfall. In general, the construction does not carry anything special, but in some contexts there may be a double meaning. The fact is that in certain situations “Ich mag dich” means “to like morally and physically”, and the line is rather thin. This is what men often say to women and people who are not yet ready to say ” Ich liebe dich “. That is, it can be perceived as a desire for a closer relationship. BUT, if you observe the correct intonation, then you will be understood absolutely correctly. 


And so we smoothly approached the verb lieben – to love. If we like something very much, then we love it. The verb is also universal in its own way, it can be applied to anything that you really like:  

– to an action (construction: lieben + zu Inf.
Ich liebe es fern zu sehen. – I like to watch TV.

 – to objects(construction: lieben + Akk)
Ich liebe mein Haus. –  I love my house.
Er liebt diese Stadt. – He loves this city 

– to people and animals (construction: lieben + Akk)
Sie liebt ihre Mutter. –  She loves her mother.
Wir lieben unsere Katze. – We love our cat.

haben + gern

And the haben + gern (gernhaben) closes our list – to like, to be in the taste. Gernhaben = mögen in all its manifestations. This is a verb with a separable prefix, with haben being conjugated and the prefix gern- taking its place at the end of the sentence. Here are some examples: 

Ich mag dich. = Ich habe dich gern.
Du magst sie nicht.   = Du hast sie nicht gern.

There are no pitfalls in the meaning of gernhaben, this construction is not used very often and only with animated nouns , but you need to know it.

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