The Gerund

Uses:

In Spanish, the gerund is used in 5 main instances:

1. To express an action that is happening now (or an action that was happening/will be happening/would be happening etc.)

 

For example: “estoy aprendiendo a conducir.” 

​2. To express an action that was happening over a long period of time.
 

For example: “él estaba sufriendo demasiado.”

*Notebook: it is often used in this instance if the action was happening when another action interrupted it. For example: "estaba cocinando cuando recibí un mensaje de mi madre"

 

3. To express a consequence of an action.
 

For example: “practicando mucho te ayuda a mejorar"
 

4. With verbs that indicate movement: andar, caminar, ir, manejar, partir, venir, volver, etc.
 

For example: “vuelvo corriendo.”
 

5. With verbs that indicate a continuation: continuar, seguir etc.
 

For example: “sigo haciendo los mismos errores.”

Formation: Regular verbs

The formation of the gerund in Spanish is fairly simple. Verbs in Spanish end in either: -ar, -er or –ir. These endings are taken off to leave the stem of the verb.

 

To form the Gerund:

  • -ando is added for verbs that end in –ar.

  • -iendo is added for verbs that end in –er and –ir.

For example:

  • ando → llegando

  • iendo → corriendo

  • finir → finiendo

Formation: Irregular verbs

There are 4 main groups of irregular forms of the gerund in Spanish:

1. Stem-change e → i

For example:


advertir → advirtiendo

competir → compitiendo
conseguir → consiguiendo
consentir → consintiendo
decir → diciendo
mentir → mintiendo
pedir → pidiendo
reír → riendo
repetir → repitiendo
seguir → siguiendo
sentir → sintiendo
servir → sirviendo
sugerir → sugiriendo
venir → viniendo

2. Stem-change o → u

For example:

 

dormir → durmiendo

morir → muriendo
poder → pudiendo

3. The iendo ending → yendo

For example:​

atraer → atrayendo
caer → cayendo
construir → construyendo
contribuir → contribuyendo
creer → creyendo
incluir → incluyendo
influir → influyendo
leer → leyendo
oír → oyendo
traer → trayendo

4. Completely irregular forms

The only common verb that is completely irregular is:

ir → yendo

The gerund with estar

In many cases, the gerund is used with the auxiliar verb estar to indicate when an action is/was happening.

 

Estar can be used with the gerund in most tenses but it is most frequently used with the Present Tense of the Imperfect Tense.

 

  • Estoy haciendo mis deberes (present - I am doing my homework)

  • Estaba haciendo mis deberes cuando leí las noticias* (I was doing my homework when I read the news)

*Notebook: when the gerund is used in the Imperfect Tense, it is often used to indicate an action was happening when it was interrupted by another action (indicated in the Preterite).

Below is a table of the verb estar in the Present, Imperfect, Present Subjunctive and Imperfect Subjunctive:

Click here to continue to exercises on the gerund

Published: 18/04/2016