Gerund of Spanish Verbs

Introduction

Similar to the infinitive and the participle, the gerund (el gerundio) is an impersonal verb form in Spanish. It is comparable to the English -ing form. You can recognise the gerund in Spanish by its ending -ndo. The gerund is formed by adding -ando to the root of verbs that end in -ar and by adding -iendo to the root of verbs that end in -er and -ir. Like the infinitive, the gerund does not agree in number or gender.

Learn about the gerund in Spanish grammar with Lingolia’s quick and easy examples, then put your knowledge to the test in the exercises.

Example

Zeichnung

Hoy es la final de la Liga de Fútbol Femenino y ya están entrando los asistentes al estadio. Estando lesionadas dos jugadoras importantes, el partido va a resultar muy interesante. Aún sabiendo que será difícil, las jugadoras se están mostrando muy motivadas.

Todos los equipos han estado luchando enérgicamente durante meses. Saliendo al estadio, la ovación del público resuena en toda la ciudad.

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Gerund (Gerundio)

Usage

The gerund (gerundio) is one of three impersonal verb forms in Spanish grammar. We can recognise it by its -ndo ending. It is used:

  • in verbal periphrasis with estar to express actions that are in progress
    Example:
    Estoy comiendo un helado.I am eating an ice-cream.
  • to express various types of clauses in a shorter way:
    • temporal clause: When?
      Example:
      Saliendo del estadio, nos encontramos con una multitud de seguidores.Leaving the stadium, we met a crowd of fans.
    • causal clause (Why?)
      Example:
      Estando lesionados dos jugadores importantes, comenzamos el partido con desventaja.
    • modal clause (How?)
      Example:
      Conseguimos ganar luchando enérgicamente.By fighting energetically, we managed to win.
    • conditional clause (On what condition?)
      Example:
      Lamentándonos sólo habríamos conseguido perder.If we had just complained we would only have lost.
    • concessive clause (Despite what condition?)
      Example:
      Aún sabiendo que sería difícil, lamentándonos sólo habríamos conseguido perder.And even knowing that it would be difficult, if we had complained we would only have lost.
    • consecutive clause (What consequences?)
      Example:
      Luchamos enérgicamente, ganando así el partido.We fought hard and thus won the match.
  • we can shorten relative clauses using con + gerund
Example:
Comenzamos el partido con la portería mirando hacia el sur.We started the game with the goal facing south.
(instead of: Comenzamos el partido con la portería que miraba hacia el sur.)
  • in certain verbal periphrasis
    Example:
    Nos fuimos corriendo al vestuario para celebrarlo.We went running to the locker room to celebrate.

How to form the gerund in Spanish

The gerund is formed with -ando for -ar verbs and with -iendo for -er/-ir verbs.

Example:
hablar → hablandospeak → speaking
aprender → aprendiendolearn → learning
vivir → viviendolive → living

Exceptions

  • -ir verbs that change their root vowel in the present (-e > -ie/-i) also change in the gerund form: -e becomes -i.
    Example:
    preferir > tú prefieres > prefiriendoprefer → preferring
    sentir > tú sientes > sintiendofeel → feeling
    venir > tú vienes > viniendocome → coming
    mentir > tú mientes > mintiendolie → lying
    reír > tú ríes > riendolaugh → laughing
    servir > tú sirves > sirviendoserve → serving
    decir > tú dices > diciendosay → saying
    seguir > tú sigues > siguiendofollow → following
  • -er and -ir verbs that change their root vowel in the present (-o > -ue) also change in the gerund form: -o becomes -u.
    Example:
    poder > puedo > pudiendobe able to → being able to
    dormir > duermo > durmiendosleep → sleeping
    moror > muero > muriendodie → dying
  • When the root of the verb ends in a vowel, the -i becomes a -y.
    Example:
    construir → construyendobuild → building
    leer → leyendoread → reading
    traer → trayendobring → bringing
    oír → oyendohear → hearing
    ir → yendogo → going
  • After ñ and ll, the -i is removed.
    Example:
    gruñir → gruñendogrowl → growling
    bullir → bullendocook → cooking