1. The Italian verb that expresses to like is piacere. It is similar in structure to the English phrase to be pleasing to.
Gianni likes meat. = Meat is pleasing to Gianni.
Gianni likes potatoes. = Potatoes are pleasing to Gianni.
a. In Italian, the thing or person liked (meat, potatoes) is the subject of the sentence; the person who likes it (Gianni) is the indirect object.
A Gianni piace la carne. Gianni likes meat. (Meat is pleasing to Gianni.)
A Gianni piacciono le patate. Gianni likes potatoes. (Potatoes are pleasing to Gianni.)
As you can see in the preceding examples, the verb piacere agrees in number with the thing or person liked, which is the subject of the Italian sentences (la carne, le patate), even though it comes at the end of the example sentences. For this reason, the verb piacere is used in the third-person singular or plural: piace, piacciono.
b. The person who likes someone/something is the indirect object of the Italian sentences. When the indirect object is a noun or a name, it must be preceded by the preposition a, as in the examples in point a: A Gianni…
c. The indirect- object noun is often replaced by an indirect-object pronoun.
A Gianni piace la carne. Gianni likes meat.
Gli piace la carne. He likes meat.
A Gianni piacciono le patate. Gianni likes potatoes.
Gli piacciono le patate. He likes potatoes.
d. In the passato prossimo, piacere is conjugated with essere. Its past participle thus agrees in gender and number with the subject. Note that like conoscere, piacere adds an i when forming the past participle: piaciuto.
Maria ha mangiato un dolce; le è piaciuto molto. = Maria ate dessert; she liked it a lot.
I ragazzi hanno mangiato le fettucine; non gli sono piaciute. = The boys ate the fettucine; they didn’t like them.
2. To not like or dislike is expressed with the negative of piacere.
A Gianni non piacciono i salumi. = Gianni doesn’t like cold cuts. (Cold cuts aren’t pleasing to Gianni.)
Non gli piacciono i salumi. = He doesn’t like cold cuts.
Non mi piace il caffè. = I dislike coffee.
3. When the subject is expressed as an infinitive (I like to eat. = Eating is pleasing to me.), piacere is used in the third-person singular.
A Sergio piace mangiare bene, man non gli piace cucinare tutte le sere. = Sergio likes to eat (eating) well, but he doesn’t like to cook (cooking) every night.
4. Notice that, in expression like Ti piace? (Do you like it?) or Ti piacciono? (Do you like them?), Italian has no equivalent for the English it and them. They are expressed by the singular and plural Italian verb endings.
5. Notice that Italian, unlike English, requires the use of the definite article to express general likes and dislikes.
Non mi piace il vitello. = I don’t like veal.
Gli piacciono i ravioli? = Does he like ravioli?
Ai miei amici non piace la carne. = My friends don’t like meat.
6. Dispiacere means to be sorry. It is used in the same way as piacere.
Non posso venire; mi dispiace. I can’t come; I’m sorry.