In German, there are three ways to say that you like something; gern, gefallen, and mögen.

When using gern, I'm fairly confident with it, since it's an adverb.

Ich esse gern Pizza! (I like to eat pizza!)

Ich spiele gern Videospiele! (I like to play video games!)

But when it comes to using gefallen and mögen, that's when I get confused. My German teacher says to use gefallen when dealing with inanimate objects and mögen when dealing with other people.

Dein T-Shirt gefällt mir. (I like your T-Shirt.)

Ich mag dein Hündchen. (I like your puppy.)

However, people often use mögen with food and drink, something that I think would fit the category of gefallen.

When do I use the two?

  • 1
    You could translate your second example as I enjoy playing video games.
    – Armin
    May 21, 2019 at 8:59

1 Answer 1


Your teacher isn't wrong per se, but this distinction isn't followed that strictly in everday life. The two words have a slightly different focus. You might say, "mögen" puts the focus more on the emotion of liking something or someone, while "gefallen" puts the focus more on something appealing to your tastes.

Ich mag Anne sehr, aber Eve gefällt mir auch.

I like Anne a lot, but Eve appeals to me as well.

  • 3
    +1, gefallento appeal to someone
    – Janka
    May 20, 2019 at 20:26

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