The Spanish Gerund, grammar A2

The Spanish gerund (EL GERUNDIO) is the equivalent of the English -ing ending, formed by changing the infinitive ending to -ando or -iendo. This ending never changes.

Spanish gerund

As you can see above, there are a few irregular gerunds in Spanish:

-er/-ir verbs with a stem ending in a vowel take -yendo: caer: cayendo (falling); creer: creyendo (believing); leer: leyendo (reading); traer: trayendo (bringing); construir: construyendo (building); oír: oyendo (hearing); and ir: yendo (going)…

-ir radical-changing verbs:

E to I: decir: diciendo (saying); freír: friend (frying); pedir: pidiendo (asking); reír: riendo (laughing); sentir: sintiendo (feeling); venir: viniendo (coming)…

O to U: dormir: durmiendo (sleeping); morir: muriendo (dying); poder: pudiendo (being able to)

When to use the gerund in Spanish

1. Probably the most common use of the gerund is with the present tense of «estar» to form the present continuous tense:

¿Qué estás buscando? (What are you looking for?)

2. With the imperfect of «estar» to say what was going on at the moment something else happened:

Estaba leyendo cuando vino (I was reading when he came)

3. A gerund can be used on its own to mean «while/on doing something»:

Siguiendo tu ejemplo, me fui (Following your example, I left)

4. The gerund can also be used after several verbs other than «estar», with very different meanings in English.

  • After seguir and continuar, it means to go on doing something /to continue doing something:

Siguieron/continuaron hablando en español (they went on/continued talking in Spanish)

  • After llevar and a period of time, it means to have been doing something for…

Lleva diez años tocando el piano (He’s been playing the piano for ten years)

  • After pasar and a period of time, it means to spend… doing something:

Pasan horas viendo la tele (You spend hours watching television)

  • After entrar (to come in/go in), salir (to come out/to go out) and irse (to leave), a gerund such as «corriendo (running)» can be used to translate to run in or out:

Salieron corriendo de la casa (They ran out of the house)

Llegaron andando al parque (They arrive walking to park)

When not to use the gerund in Spanish

We use the infinitive, not the gerund

  • After most other verbs:

Me gusta cantar (I like singing)

Prefiero quedarme aquí (I prefer staying here)

  • Where the English -ing form of a verb is used as a noun:

Hacer ejercicio es Bueno para la salud (Exercising is good for the health)

Ver para creer (Seeing is believing)

  • After prepositions:

Antes de pagar (before paying)

Después de comer (after eating)

Sin hablar (without speaking)

Review how to form the gerund and more with this video

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