The 'Gerund' (forming 'ing......' sentences)
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Video Lesson
Summary of Lesson
What is the ‘gerund’? A Look at how the ‘gerund’ is used to form continuous tenses with ‘estar’. How the ‘gerund’ is formed with regular verbs.
Looking at how the 'gerund' is formed with some common irregular verbs. (Common endings but irregular stems.)
How the ‘gerund’ is used with other verbs instead of ‘estar’ to form sentences.
How the use of the 'gerund' in English differs to how it is used in Spanish. When the gerund cannot be used in sentences where they might be commonplace in English.
  What you can learn from this lesson
To be aware that the principle usage of the ‘gerund’ occurs in the formation of continuous tense sentences. Understanding how they are formed using different tenses of the verb ‘estar’.
Knowing in what common situations the ‘gerund’ may be used to formulate sentences other than with the verb ‘estar’. Using other verbs instead of ‘estar’ such as verbs conveying movement.
Being able to correctly formulate verbs when using the ‘gerund’ and being aware of the most common stem changes that occur when forming irregular verbs.
Knowing how to form sentences in Spanish where in English the ‘gerund’ might normally be used.
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The first part of this lesson explains what the ‘gerund’ is and how it is formed in Spanish to make continuous tenses.


In English the ‘gerund’ refers to a verb that has been formed with the ending ‘ing’. In Spanish it refers to verbs that usually end in ‘iendo’ or ‘ando’. The ‘gerund’ in English is not always used in the same way that it is used in Spanish.


Forming continuous tenses


One of the most common ways the ‘gerund’ is used in both English and Spanish is in the formation of continuous tenses.


(Yo) estoy trabajando. - I’m working. (present simple continuous)

Él estuvo diciendo. - He was saying. (past simple continuous)


Continuous tenses are usually formed by using the verb ‘estar’. For more information on continuous tenses take a look at the separate lesson on the continuous tenses. In Spanish the ‘gerund’ is usually used in conjunction with another verb which very often is the verb ‘estar’.


Forming the gerund with regular verbs


The formation of the ‘gerund’ in Spanish depends on whether a verb is regular or irregular. This is because some irregular ‘er’ and 'ir' verbs end in ‘yendo’ or ‘endo’.


The ‘gerund’ of regular verbs are formed as follows.


AR regular verbs - take off the AR ending and add ando

ER regular verbs - take off the ER ending and add iendo

IR regular verbs - take off the IR ending and add iendo

verb stem ending gerund
mandar (to command) mand ando mandando
esconder (to hide) escond iendo escondiendo
sacudir (to shake) sacud iendo sacudiendo




The second part of this lesson looks at how the ‘gerund’ is formed with irregular verbs. There are three ways in which irregular gerund formations differ from those of regular verbs.


Irregular stems but regular endings


Some verbs take irregular verb formations in the stem of the verb only. Below is a list of some of the most common verbs of this type. Notice how most of these verbs end in 'ir'.

decir to say diciendo saying
dormir to sleep duermiendo sleeping
erguir to erect irguiendo erecting
freír to fry friendo frying
morir to die muriendo dieing
pedir to order pidiendo ordering
poder to be able pudiendo being able to
reír to laugh riendo laughing
seguir to follow siguiendo following
sentir to feel sintiendo feeling
venir to come viniendo coming

Regular stems but irregular endings (er and ir verbs only)


These types of verbs all take the same formation pattern. The ‘ir’ ending of the verb is dropped and instead of replacing it with ‘iendo’ it is replaced with ‘yendo’. Below is a list of some of the most common verbs of this type.


caer to fall cayendo falling
creer to believe creyendo believing
leer to read leyendo reading
oir to hear oyendo hearing
ir to go yendo going


Verbs that have ñ in the stem (ir verbs only)


These types of verbs are much less common. They end in ‘endo’ instead of ‘iendo’. You will notice that the verb ‘reñir’ also takes a stem change.


gruñir to grunt gruñendo grunting
reñir to scold riñendo scolding



The third part of the lesson looks at different ways in which the ‘gerund’ form of a verb might be used in conversation with other verbs rather than using it with the verb ‘estar’ and continuous tenses.


Here is a list of common examples.


1) In set phrases using the verbs ‘pasar’ and ‘llevar’.


Pasar - (Yo) pasé toda la noche durmiendo. - I spent the whole night sleeping.

Llevar - Él lleva seis meses viviendo aquí. - Hes been living here for six months.


2) With other common verbs conveying physical or visual movement.


Irse - Ella se fue gritando. - She left shouting.

Entrar - Ellos entraron sonriendo. - They came in smiling.

Caerse - Me caí chillando. - I fell screaming.

Ver - (Yo) te vi mirándome - I saw you watching me.

Mirar - Ellos me miraron jugando. - They watched me playing.

3) Sometimes used at the beginning of a sentence.

Poder -Pudiendo pensar bien. - Being able to think straight.


The last part of the lesson looks at common situations when the ‘gerund’ is sometimes used in English but not in Spanish.


1)      When using certain impersonal verbs.


Impersonal verbs are those verbs that are used to talk about something in a non specific way such as the weather for example (it rains). For a list of non specific verbs take a look at the ‘word lists’ section of this website. It is also possible in these situations to use the 'gerund' form of the verb with 'estar'.


Llueve. (no gerund) - It’s raining.

Está lloviendo. - It's raining.

Nieva. (no gerund) - It’s snowing.

Está nevando. - It's snowing.



2)      When talking about things that are happening in general.


Él estudia gramática inglés. (no gerund) - He’s studying English Grammar.

Ella aprende a tocar la flauta. (no gerund) - He’s learning to play the flute.


3)      When using certain infinitive verbs.


A mi me gusta hablar. (no gerund) - I like talking .

Yo sé mentir es malo. (no gerund) - I know lieing is wrong.

Esquiar. (no gerund) - Skiing.

No fumar. (no gerund) - No smoking.



4)      When referring to something in its physical position. Instead in Spanish the past participle form of a verb is often used.


Ellas estaban paradas al frente. (no gerund) - They were standing at the front.

(Yo) estaba sentada a la mesa. (no gerund) - I was sitting at the table.


5)      When using certain adjectives.


Al día siguiente nos fuimos. (no gerund) - The following day we left.

¿Tienes agua corriente? (no gerund) - Do you have running water?


That concludes this lesson on the ‘gerund’. If you have not done so already watch the actual video for this lesson and then try one of the associated quizzes to test your understanding.

The 'Gerund' (forming 'ing......' sentences)
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