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How to use Spanish gerunds?

22 Aug, 2017 Popular Articles
How to use Spanish gerunds?2 votes. 4.75 / 5

In English, a gerund is a noun made from a verb by adding -ing. It can act as the subject, the object of a sentence, or the complement. In English, a gerund is made by adding -ing to a verb. In Spanish, it's the -ndo form. Using gerunds in Spanish can be a little bit tricky. 

Spanish gerunds - When and how to useSpanish gerunds - When and how to use?

Spanish gerunds and formation

In Spanish, a gerund is formed by dropping the infinitive ending of a verb and adding –ando for –ar verbs and –iendo for –er and –ir verbs.

-AR verbs: Drop the infinitive ending and add -ando.

For example:

mirar - mirando

hablar - hablando

tomar - tomando

-ER, -IR verbs: Drop the infinitive ending and add -iendo.

For example:

comer - comiendo

describir - describiendo

poner - poniendo

Irregular verbs

Verbs with stem ending in vowel: Drop the infinitive and add -yendo.

For example:

caer - cayendo

leer - leyendo

traer - trayendo

-IR verbs with stem-change in third person preterite: the same stem-change in the present participle.

For example:

decir diciendo

poder - pudiendo

pedir pidiendo

When to use gerunds in Spanish?

To express an onging action

In Spanish, gerundios can be used with verbs like andar, venir, ir, and seguir to express something is in the process of happening. 

For example:

Seguimos estudiando los libros - We keep on studying the books

Anda buscando sus llaves - He is walking around looking for his keys

It can also be used to refer to the action of another verb in the same phrase. In this case, it functions as an adverb.

For example:

Pasó todas sus vacaciones esperando una sorpresa - He spent his entire vacation waiting for a surprise

To express how something has been achieved

For example:

Comiendo mucho, me engordé - By eating a lot, I got fat

As sarcasm

For example:

¿Qué? ¿Comiéndote mi tortilla? - Eating my tortilla, I see.

As exclamations and iterrogatives

You can use the gerund when you want to express that you think someone spends too much doing one thing.

For example:

¡Otra vez comiendo McDonalds! - Eating McDonalds again?!

Note:

  • Spanish gerund isn't a noun like in English. You have to use the infinitive form of the verb if you want the action to act as a noun.

For example:

Me gusta nadar. Nadar es divertido - I like swimming. Swimming is fun.

I like speaking Spanish - Me gusta hablar español

  • In Spanish, a gerundio is not used when translating English adjectives that end in -ing. Instead, they are translated as phrases beginning with de (of/from) or que (that/which).

For example:

Me compré unos zapatos de correr - I bought myself some running shoes

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