Spanish Grammar

Index

Spanish Grammar A1 ⮟
Ser and Estar in Spanish for Beginners
Está and Hay in Spanish to Express Location
The Present Indicative in Spanish
The verb querer in Spanish: how to use it
The Verb Gustar in Spanish
Demonstratives in Spanish and Adverbs of Place
Possessive Adjectives in Spanish
The Present Continuous in Spanish: Estar + Gerund
The Gerund in Spanish: Form and Basic Uses
Spanish Grammar A2 ⮟
Present Perfect Indicative in Spanish
The Past Simple in Spanish
The Preterite Imperfect Indicative in Spanish
Indicative past tenses in Spanish
How to Express Future in Spanish
How to use por and para in Spanish
Possessive Pronouns in Spanish
Spanish Grammar B1 ⮟
The Pluperfect Indicative in Spanish
The Future Simple in Spanish
The Conditional Simple in Spanish
The imperative mood in Spanish
The present subjunctive in Spanish
Verbal Periphrasis in Spanish
General Rules of Accentuation in Spanish
Spanish Grammar B2 ⮟
Advanced Uses of Conditional Simple
The Future Perfect in Spanish
The Conditional Perfect in Spanish
How do I use the past imperfect subjunctive?
The Pluperfect Subjunctive in Spanish
How to express probability in Spanish
Conditional Clauses in Spanish
Verbs of Change in Spanish
Reported Speech in Spanish
Spanish Grammar C1 ⮟
The passive Voice in Spanish
Adverbial Clauses of Manner in Spanish
Adverbial Clauses of Cause in Spanish
Clauses of Purpose in Spanish
Conditional Conjunctions in Spanish
Uses of the Pronoun SE with Syntactic Function
Uses of the Pronoun Se as a Verb Mark

The Gerund in Spanish: Form and Basic Uses

The gerund in Spanish is a non-personal form of verbs. Most verb forms show which person performs or suffers the verbal action. For this purpose, we use the desinences or endings. For example:

Hablamos = first person in plural (nosotros/as).

Comen = third person in plural (ellos/as/ustedes).

However, there are three verb forms that do not have these endings and, therefore, their purpose is not to express the person. The non-personal forms of verbs in Spanish are the infinitive (hablar), the gerund (hablando) and the participle (hablado).

In this article we are going to focus on how the gerund in Spanish is formed and its most basic uses.

 

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How Is the Gerund in Spanish Formed?

To form the gerund in Spanish we must isolate the verb stem. To do this, we will remove the infinitive ending. Subsequently, we will add the endings -ando for verbs of the first conjugation (-ar) and -iendo for the second and third conjugations (-er / -ir).

 

Conjugation of the gerund forms of the regular verbs in Spanish

 

Irregular Verbs in the Gerund

Although at first glance, the gerund in Spanish may appear to be an easy form to conjugate, there are quite a few irregularities. These are mainly vowel changes in the verb stem and variations in the endings.

Vowel changes in the stem

There are some groups of verbs that suffer a change in the vowels of their stem. We must remember that this is very common in many verb tenses in Spanish. Let’s look at these irregularities:

1. Changes from e > i

One of the verb tenses with the greatest vowel irregularities is the present indicative. Well, the verbs of the third conjugation (-ir) that in this tense had the vowel change e > i, will also suffer it in the gerund in Spanish. If you want to review the irregular verbs in the present indicative, you can read this article.

Here you’ll find some examples of gerunds with this irregularity:

Venir > Viniendo

Pedir > Pidiendo

Seguir > Siguiendo

Decir > Diciendo

Sentir > Sintiendo

2. Changes from o > u

Some of the verbs of the second (-er) and third (-ir) conjugations that suffered the vowel change in the stem o > ue, in the gerund in Spanish will change as follows: o > u.

Morir > Muriendo

Poder > Pudiendo

Dormir > Durmiendo

As we can see, this irregularity is not as constant as the first one, since there are verbs that were irregular in the present tense, but are not irregular in the gerund:

Moler > Moliendo

Doler > Doliendo

Cocer > Cociendo

Changes in the endings

In addition to vowel changes in the stem, the gerund in Spanish can also suffer irregularities in the endings. Let’s see when:

1. Vowel + iendo > y

When the stem of a verb ends in a vowel, the ending -iendo changes the vowel i into a consonantal sound (y).

Caer > Cayendo

Oír > Oyendo

Huir > Huyendo

Leer > Leyendo

Ir > Yendo

2. ñ / ll > -endo

If the verb stem ends in the consonants ñ or ll, the ending –iendo loses the vowel i.

Reñir > Riñendo

Tañer > Tañendo

Escabullir > Escabullendo

Mullir > Mullendo

Basic Uses of the Gerund

The gerund in Spanish can have a verbal or adverbial use. Let’s see how it works in both cases:

Verbal use of the gerund.

We mainly use the gerund in verbal periphrases. They are a type of verb construction formed by a personal verb form and another verb in non-personal form (in addition to other linking elements). Perhaps, the most used verbal periphrasis in basic levels is estar + gerund. Here is an article where you can study it in more depth. These are some examples of verbal periphrases with gerund:

Estoy comiendo en el restaurante.

Sigo viviendo en Madrid.

Llevo estudiando español cinco años.

Adverbial use of the gerund: mode

When we use the gerund in Spanish as an adverb, we enrich our sentences with circumstantial meanings. We can express time, mood, cause, condition… In this article we are only going to look at one of these meanings which is the most used at basic levels: mood.

We can use the gerund to express the way in which we perform the verbal action. It is very useful to answer the question how? Here are some examples:

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Infographics about the gerunds in Spanish: form and uses