The Spanish Gerundio (Gerund) – How to Form It and Use It

Welcome to our grammar lesson about the Spanish Gerundio, also known as Gerund or Present Participle.

The Gerundio is a verb form in Spanish. It is equivalent to the English “-ing” forms: eating, playing… etc.

The Gerundio has several uses, but the most frequent one is as part of the Present Progressive tense.

In this lesson we will learn all about the Spanish Gerundio, both how to form it and how to use it, providing example sentences. At the end you’ll find a Quiz and an Exercise for practice.

1. How to Form the Gerundio in Spanish

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

Most verbs have a regular Gerundio. However, some verbs have an irregular one. Let’s learn both regulars and irregulars:

Regular Gerundios

We form regular Gerundios by adding one of the following endings to the verb’s stem:

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


Examples:

VerbGerundio
Hablarhablando
Llamarllamando
Comercomiendo
Beberbebiendo
Vivirviviendo
Partirpartiendo

Irregular Gerundios

There are 2 types of irregular Gerundios:

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

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


For other irregular verbs, a letter “y” appears:

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

2. 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.

Example sentences in Present Progressive:

¿Qué estás haciendo?
What are you doing?

Estoy haciendo mis tareas.
I’m doing my homework.

¿Estáis cocinando carne?
Are you guys cooking meat?

Estamos cocinando pescado.
We are cooking fish.

Ana está estudiando.
Ana is studying.

Pablo y María también están estudiando.
Pablo and María are also studying.

In other types of sentences, also expressing an ongoing action

Sometimes the Gerundio expresses an ongoing action, but after another verb that is not “estar”.

For example, “seguir” + Gerundio means “to keep 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?
Do you keep playing the guitar?


Or “pasar” + Gerundio, which means “to spend time doing something”:

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

Nosotros pasamos horas conversando.
We spend hours talking to each other.


Another possibility is “ir” + Gerundio, meaning “to go around doing something”:

Roberto va siempre cantando.
Roberto is always singing around.

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

Finally, “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 5 años estudiando español.
We have been studying Spanish for 5 years.

3. Practice the Spanish Gerundio

Quiz

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

Exercise

In the following sentences, which show different uses of the Gerundio, fill the gaps in your mind or on a piece of paper using Gerundio forms. Then check the solutions below:

Angélica está ______ 1.(leer) una novela de misterio.
¿Quién está ______ 2.(tocar) el piano?

Los niños siguen ______ 3.(dormir).
El público sigue ______ 4.(pedir) otra canción.

Yo paso mucho tiempo ______ 5.(pensar) en mi novia.
¿Cuánto tiempo pasáis ______ 6.(discutir)?

Ellos van siempre _____ 7.(bromear).

Lleváis dos horas _____ 8.(ver) este programa.

Solutions to the Exercise: 1 = leyendo, 2 = tocando, 3 = durmiendo, 4 = pidiendo, 5 = pensando, 6 = discutiendo, 7 = bromeando, 8 = viendo