How to Talk About Your Likes and Dislikes in Esperanto

When you start learning a new language, it’s important to be able to talk about the things that matter to you. That includes the things you like and dislike. In this post, learn how to express ‘I like…’ and ‘I don’t like…’ in Esperanto, as well as how to ask other people what they like, too!

The verb – ŝati

To say you like something, then you’ll have to use the verb ŝati, which means ‘to like’. Luckily, Esperanto is really simple when it comes to verb tenses—there are only six different forms in total, and verbs don’t change based on the number or gender of the subject, making things even easier!

ŝatiinfinitiveto like
ŝataspresentI like, you like, he/she/it likes, we like, they like
ŝatispastI liked, you liked, he/she/it liked, we liked, they liked
ŝatosfutureI will like, you will like, he/she/it will like, we will like, they will like
ŝatusconditionalI would like, you would like, he/she/it would like, we would like, they would like
ŝatuvolitive, imperativeLike!

We’ll mostly be using ŝatas throughout the rest of this post.

Quick refresher: personal pronouns

Since the form of the verb in Esperanto doesn’t change based on the subject, the other thing you’ll need is personal pronouns. Do you remember them all?

No worries if not! Here’s a quick refresh for you.

viyou (singular and plural)
onione, they, you (this is the indefinite pronoun)

How to say ‘I like…’

It’s pretty simple from here on out!

To say ‘I like’, simply add the personal pronoun and the correct form of the verb.

I like… = Mi ŝatas

Here are some example sentences with ‘I like’:

  • Mi ŝatas danci. – I like to dance.
  • Mi ŝatas futbalon. – I like football.
  • Mi ŝatas legi. – I like to read.
  • Mi ŝatas tomatojn. – I like tomatoes.

Nouns after ŝatas

So, there’s something about nouns in Esperanto you need to know, and that is that they generally all end in the letter -o. But if you look at futbalon or tomatojn in the examples above, you’ll notice that they don’t end in -o.

(Don’t worry, we’ll come to danci and legi in just a moment.)

Here’s why that’s happened:

If a noun is the direct object of the verb (i.e. the verb is directly affecting it), then it takes the accusative case suffix -n.

So, if you say ‘I pass the ball‘ in Esperanto, you’d say, mi pasigas la pilkon. ‘I read (present tense) a book‘ is mi legas libron.


But what about that j in tomatojn? Well, to make a noun plural, you add -j after the -o ending, so tomatoj means ‘tomatoes’, and then the -n is added because in our sentence, ‘tomatoes’ is the direct object.

So, ‘I like cats‘ is mi ŝatas katojn and ‘I see four houses‘ is mi vidas kvar domojn.

The order for these suffixes is that the plural suffix (-j) comes first, and the accusative case/direct object suffix (-n) comes last.

Verbs after ŝatas

Saying ‘I like to do something’ is even easier than dealing with nouns! The verb that follows ŝatas simply stays in its infinitive (dictionary) form. Don’t remember which one that is? It’s the one ending in -i.

  • Mi ŝatas skribi. – I like to write.
  • Mi ŝatas naĝi. – I like to swim.
  • Mi ŝatas kanti. – I like to sing.

How to ask ‘Do you like…?’

Looking at what we’ve covered so far, we know that ‘you’ is vi in Esperanto. We’ll keep this question in the present tense for now, so to say ‘you like’, we say vi ŝatas.

Okay, great. How do we make it into a question?

It’s not quite as simple as raising our intonation or simply slapping a question mark at the end of a sentence. Instead, we need an extra helper word—ĉu.

Ĉu is a word that marks yes/no questions.

  • Ĉu vi ŝatas legi? – Do you like reading?
  • Ĉu vi ŝatas picojn? – Do you like pizza?
  • Ĉu vi ŝatas muzeojn? – Do you like museums?
  • Ĉu vi ŝatas ĝin? – Do you like it?

Once we have these questions, how do we answer them?

We just need the words for ‘yes’ and ‘no’—jes and ne.

  • Jes, mi ŝatas (ĝin). – Yes, I like (it).
  • Ne, mi ne ŝatas (ĝin). – No, I don’t like (it).

How to say ‘I don’t like…’

Well, you’ve kind of picked that up from the final sentence of the last section! Ne doesn’t just mean ‘no’; it also means ‘not’ and is used to negate sentences in Esperanto. The structure is quite straightforward:

personal pronoun + ne + verb + object

Here are some example sentences with ‘I don’t like’:

  • Mi ne ŝatas picojn. – I don’t like pizza.
  • Mi ne ŝatas tomatojn. – I don’t like tomatoes.
  • Mi ne ŝatas danci. – I don’t like dancing.
  • Mi ne ŝatas futbalon. – I don’t like football.
  • Mi ne ŝatas legi. – I don’t like reading.

Learn more Esperanto with uTalk

You can learn even more Esperanto with the uTalk app! The majority of sentences in this article come from our Likes and Dislikes topic, but if you subscribe you’ll get access to all 2,500 useful Esperanto words and phrases across 60+ different topics.

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Happy language learning!

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