gostar de

GOSTAR (complete conjugation) is one of those verbs that you will use all the time.

Unless you don't like anything 🙁
But then you will have to say. "Eu não gosto..." because it's just not cool to use the word hate (ODIAR) except very rarely.

Gostar is used differently than most any other verb in that it's always (always!) followed by a de.

Think of it like this:
When you like something or someone, you like of them or it.

You like (of) fresh bread, for example.

Você gosta de pão fresco?

I like (of) samba.

Eu gosto de samba.

She likes (of) pineapple.

Ela gosta de abacaxi.

Eu gosto de você.

If you like doing something. it's the same rule: you like to do of something.

Eu gosto de cantar. » I like to sing.
Eu gosto de dançar. » I like to dance.

The de is still required (as always!) and the verb that follows is in the infinitive form.

It's a rule: verbs coming after de are always in the infinitive. But it just makes sense since you're saying, to sing; to dance ETC.

GOSTAR with contractions

What about when you see this:

» Ele gosta dela. » He likes her. (of her = de + ela = dela)
» Eu gosto daqui. » I like it here. (of here = da + aqui = daqui)
» Nós gostamos do Brasil. » We like Brazil. (of Brazil = de + o Brasil = do Brasil)
» Você gosta desse restaurante? » Do you like this restaurant? (of this restaurante = de + esse + restaurante = desse restaurante)

If the de is followed by the: o or a, they contract like this:
de + o = do
de + a = da

If the de is followed by he|she: ele, or ela, they contract like this:
de + ele = dele
de + ela = dela

If the de is followed by this|that: esse or essa, they contract like this:
de + esse = desse
de + essa = dessa

And so on!

These are all contractions of de (ÓBVIO!). Contractions exist just to make life simpler and communication faster. Other popular contractions with de are:

de + aqui = daqui » Eu gosto daqui!
de + ali = dali » Ela não gosta dali.

The entire universe of Portuguese contractions is summarized in this post.

Can GOSTAR be used without the de?

The only time the de isn't said is in conversation - where you're not always speaking in complete sentences.

Do you like to travel? » Gosto!
Is he liking the show? » Ele está gostando!