Spanish Gerundio

Welcome to our grammar lesson about the Spanish gerundio (also known as Gerund or Present participle).

The gerundio is the equivalent of “-ing” forms in English: drinking, studying… etc.

A couple of sentences with Spanish gerundios
A couple of sentences with gerundios (in green)

This lesson will teach you everything about the gerundio: how to form it and how to use it, providing example sentences.

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

How to form the gerundio

For each verb, there is only one gerundio.

Let’s study how we form it, both the regular and irregular cases.

Regular gerundios

Most verbs have a regular gerundio.

We form it by attaching an ending to the verb’s stem:

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


Examples:

VerbGerundio
hablar

to speak

hablando
llamar

to call

llamando
comer

to eat

comiendo
beber

to drink

bebiendo
vivir

to live

viviendo
partir

to depart

partiendo


Irregular gerundios

A few verbs have an irregular gerundio.

There are 2 possible irregularities:

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

VerbGerundio
decir

to say

diciendo
dormir

to sleep

durmiendo
morir

to die

muriendo
pedir

to ask for

pidiendo
preferir

to prefer

prefiriendo
repetir

to repeat

repitiendo
seguir

to continue

siguiendo
sentir

to feel

sintiendo
servir

to serve

sirviendo
vestir

to wear

vistiendo


For other verbs, the ending is -yendo instead of -iendo:

VerbGerundio
creer

to believe

creyendo
leer

to read

leyendo
ir

to go

yendo
oír

to hear

oyendo
traer

to bring

trayendo

Uses of the gerundio

Here are its most important uses:

After the verb “estar”, expressing an ongoing action

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

¿Qué estás haciendo?
What are you doing?

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

¿Vosotros estáis cocinando carne?
Are you guys cooking meat?

Nosotros estamos pidiendo la cena.
We are ordering dinner.


Of course, we can also conjugate “estar” in any past or future tense, in order to express ongoing actions in the past or in the future:

Ana estaba estudiando Matemáticas.
Ana was studying Math.

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


After other verbs

We can use the gerundio after other verbs to express different things.

Examples:

“seguir” + gerundio means “to keep doing something, to still be doing something…”:

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

Los chicos siguen aprendiendo.
The boys keep learning.

¿Tú 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 hablando.
We spend hours talking.


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

Roberto va siempre cantando.
Roberto is always singing around.

¿Por qué vas diciendo tonterías?
Why are you going around talking nonsense?


“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”:

Si trabajas duro, acabas ganando.
If you work hard, you end up winning.

Los alumnos terminan sabiendo mucho español.
The students end up knowing a lot of Spanish.

Practice

Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about the Spanish 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 after “estar”, as part of the Present Progressive Tense.

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

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

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

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

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

5) Los niños están ___ (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:

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

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

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

4) Vosotros lleváis dos horas ___ (ver) la televisión.
You guys have been watching TV for two hours.

5) Yo he acabado ___ (amar) esta serie.
I’ve ended up loving this series.

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

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