One thing that's been confusing me a bit in German is the various ways one can say they like something.
There is "Ich mag," "gerne," and "gefällt mir"
I realize it probably has a lot to do with the case and context of the sentence but could someone please explain to me when one is appropriate to say and when it isn't?
I wouldn't totally agree with dunja, that "Ich mag" is so strong and it would only be used in private conversations.
For example there is nothing unusual if you have lunch with people, you hardly know and say in a smalltalk kind of fashion: "Ich mag Schnitzel" (I like Schnitzel).
"gerne" can be used to emphasize. You could say "Ich mag Schnitzel gerne" or "Ich mag Schnitzel sehr gerne". If you use sehr (very) it is even more emphasized. But you probably get the idea, that mögen und gerne can be used together.
The only frequent usage of "gerne" without a form of "mögen" I can recall at the moment is, what you can reply if someone offers you something:
"Möchtest Du noch etwas Käse?" --> "gerne" oder "sehr gerne"
(translated: do you like some more cheese? --> i'm not sure, what you would say in english which would not sound awkward, probably something like gladly?)
or also if someone asks you for something:
"Könntest Du bitte den Tisch decken?" --> gerne
("could you please lay the table?" --> I think here the translation of "gerne would be something like gladly, right?)
ok, now I find more situations: also if someone thanks you for something
"Danke, dass Sie mir den Weg gezeigt haben?" (egal welche Situation, geht immer als Antwort auf Danke) --> gerne oder: habe ich gerne gemacht
If my knowledge about grammer terms does not fail me, "gerne" is only used as an adverb, while "mögen" can realy be used as a verb.
Ich mag is a little bit strong and can be said in private conversations.
Es geffaelt mir is more of an official way to say that you like something and you couldn't go wrong with it.
Gerne is used when somebody says danke and you say gerne which means don't mention it or I am glad to help you ( Ich mache das gern= I will do this gladly). Ich werde ihnen gern helfen....
Hope this helps.