Using the verb piacere (to like)

In order to say “to like (something)” in Italian, we use the verb piacere. The word order is unusual, however: pronoun (mi, ti, gli, etc.) + piace/piacciono + complement (the thing that is liked). We are essentially saying “something is pleasing to me/you/him, etc”. The verb is conjugated based on the thing that is liked and not on the person who likes it, so it can only ever be third-person singular or plural.

Mi piace l’ultimo film di Ammaniti.

I like Ammaniti's latest film (literally, “Ammaniti's latest film is pleasing to me”).

Mi piacciono i film d’azione.

I like action movies (literally, “action movies are pleasing to me”). 

The pronoun that comes before the verb, which refers to the person who likes the item(s) in question, is an indirect object pronoun Pronomi CI.

Gli piace la musica italiana.

He likes Italian music (literally, “Italian music is pleasing to him”).

Vi piace la colazione continentale.

You (plural) like the continental breakfast (literally, “the continental breakfast is pleasing to you”).

We use piace if the thing we like is a singular noun or a verb in the infinitive. We use piacciono if it is a plural noun.

Ci piace la pizza

We like pizza (literally, “pizza is pleasing to us”).

Ci piace andare al cinema.

We like going to the movies (literally, “going to the movies is pleasing to us”).

Ti piacciono le patatine fritte.

You like French fries (literally, “French fries are pleasing to you”).

To say that we don't like something, we simply add non (the negative particle) before the pronoun.

Non mi piace la pioggia.

I don't like rain (literally, “rain is not pleasing to me”).

Non gli piacciono le partite di calcio.

He doesn't like soccer games (literally, “soccer games are not pleasing to him”).


  • We don't use the indirect object pronoun after a + noun or a + stressed pronoun.

Ad Anna le piacciono i cani → Ad Anna piacciono i cani. 

Anna likes dogs (literally, “dogs are pleasing to Anna”).

A me mi piace il gelato → A me piace il gelato. 

I like ice cream (literally, “ice cream is pleasing to me”).

  • There are other verbs that behave the same way as piacere (to like). The most common of these are: bastare (to suffice, to be enough), fare piacere (to please), importare (to matter), mancare (to be lacking), interessare (to interest), servire (to be of help, often translated using “to need”) and sembrare (to seem).

Mi manca vedere gli amici.

I miss seeing my friends (literally, “seeing my friends is missing to me”).

Ci serve più tempo.

We need more time (literally, “more time is of help to us”).

La loro opinione non mi importa.

Their opinion does not matter to me.

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