Spanish Gerundio – Learn It and Practice this Verb Form!

Welcome to our grammar lesson about the Spanish Gerundio (also known as Gerund or Present Participle) where we will learn and practice this verb form.

The Gerundio is is the equivalent of the English “-ing” forms: eating, playing… etc.

In this lesson we will learn all about the Spanish Gerundio, how to form it and how to use it, with many examples.

At the end you’ll find a Quiz and Exercises for practice.

How to Form the Gerundio

First, the good news: for each verb, there is only one Gerundio.

Most verbs have a regular Gerundio, but some have an irregular one.

Regular verbs

For verbs that have a regular Gerundio, we form it by adding the following endings to the stem:

  • For verbs ending in -ar —>  -ando
  • For verbs ending in -er, -ir  —> -iendo


Examples:

VerbGerundio
hablarhablando
llamarllamando
comercomiendo
beberbebiendo
vivirviviendo
partirpartiendo

Irregular verbs

There are 2 types of irregular Gerundios:

For some verbs, there is has a small vowel change in the stem.

Examples:

With vowel change
decir → diciendo
dormir → durmiendo
morir → muriendo
pedir → pidiendo
preferir → prefiriendo
repetir → repitiendo
seguir → siguiendo
sentir → sintiendo
servir → sirviendo
vestir → vistiendo


For other verbs, a letter “y” replaces the “i” in the ending.

Examples:

Letter "y" appears
creer → creyendo
leer → leyendo
ir → yendo
oír → oyendo
traer → trayendo

Uses of the Gerundio

Here are the most importante uses of the Gerundio:

As part of the Present Progressive, expressing an ongoing action

We use the Gerundio after the verb estar to build sentences in Present Progressive Tense, to express what’s happening at the moment:

¿Qué estás haciendo?
What are you doing?

Estoy bebiendo un zumo de manzana.
I’m drinking an apple juice.

¿Estáis cocinando carne?
Are you guys cooking meat?

Estamos pidiendo la cena.
We are ordering dinner.


Of course, estar can also be conjugated in other tenses, to express ongoing actions in the past or the future:

Ana estaba estudiando Matemáticas.
Ana was studying Math.

A las diez, mis amigos estarán jugando.
At ten, my friends will be playing.


In other types of sentences that express an ongoing action

“estar” is not the only verb that can precede the Gerundio to express an ongoing action. Sometimes we use the Gerundio after other verbs:

“seguir” + Gerundio means “to keep doing something, to still be doing something…”. (Learn more about verb “seguir”):

Por desgracia, sigo fumando.
Unfortunately, I keep smoking.

Los chicos siguen aprendiendo.
The boys keep learning.

¿Sigues tocando la guitarra?
Are you still playing the guitar?


“pasar” + Gerundio means “to spend a certain amount of time doing something”:

Ella pasa todo el día jugando.
She spends all day playing.

Nosotros pasamos horas conversando.
We spend hours talking.


“ir” + Gerundio means “to go around doing something”:

Roberto va siempre cantando.
Roberto is always singing around.

¿Por qué vas siempre diciendo tonterías?
Why are you always talking nonsense (around)?


“llevar” + Gerundio means “to have been doing something for a certain amount of time“:

Llevo media hora mirando este reloj.
I’ve been looking at this watch for half an hour.

Llevamos estudiando español cinco años.
We have been studying Spanish for five years.


“acabar” + Gerundio or “terminar” + Gerundio, mean “to end up doing something”:

Acabarás jugando en un gran equipo.
You will end up playing in a great team.

Han terminado sabiendo mucho español.
The’ve ended up knowing a lot of Spanish.

Sentences where we DON’T use the Gerundio

When the English “-ing” form expresses a general concept instead of an ongoing action, we use the Infinitive in Spanish:

Fumar es malo para la salud.
Smoking is bad for your health.

Practice

Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about the Gerundio:

Exercise 1

Form the Gerundio of the following verbs:

1) escuchar
2) salir
3) contar
4) tener
5) leer
6) dormir
7) repetir
8) vestir

Solutions:
1) escuchando
2) saliendo
3) contando
4) teniendo
5) leyendo
6) durmiendo
7) repitiendo
8) vistiendo


Exercise 2

In this exercise we practice the Gerundio as part of the Present Progressive Tense.

Fill the gaps with the Gerundio of the verbs in brackets:

Angélica está ____ 1.(leer) una novela de misterio.
Angelica is reading a mystery novel.

¿Quién está ____ 2.(tocar) el piano?
Who is playing the piano?

¿Por qué estáis ____ 3.(discutir)?
Why are you guys arguing?

Yo estoy ____ 4.(regar) las plantas.
I am watering the plants.

Los niños están ____ 5.(dormir).
The children are sleeping.

Solutions:
1) leyendo
2) tocando
3) discutiendo
4) regando
5) durmiendo


Exercise 3

In this exercise we practice the Gerundio after other verbs that are not “estar”.

Fill the gaps with the Gerundio of the verbs in brackets:

El público sigue ____ 1.(aplaudir).
The audience keeps applauding.

Yo paso mucho tiempo ____ 2.(pensar) en mis amigos.
I spend a lot of time thinking about my friends.

Ellos siempre van ____ 3.(bromear).
They are always joking around.

Lleváis dos horas ____ 4.(ver) la televisión.
You guys have been watching TV for two hours.

Yo he acabado ____ 5.(odiar) esta serie.
I’ve ended up hating this series.

Solutions:
1) aplaudiendo
2) pensando
3) bromeando
4) viendo
5) odiando