Using the Spanish Gerund With Verbs Other Than ‘Estar’
When you first learned about gerunds in Spanish, you probably formed progressive tense with the verb estar. It’s an easy construction for English speakers that’s comparable to the English continuous tense.
Juan está leyendo.
Juan is reading.
However, there’s much more to learn about gerunds in Spanish! They also form various constructions with other verbs.
Read this blog post to improve your Spanish grammar and learn new ways of using gerunds in Spanish in a conversation. Access the most common verbs to use with Spanish gerunds. I promise that you’ll be able to employ them right after you finish reading this article!
Gerunds in Spanish
Just a quick review to make sure we’re on the same page. Gerunds in Spanish are the verb forms that end in –ndo. For example:
- hablando – speaking
- comiendo – eating
- viviendo – living
How to form gerunds in Spanish? Simply drop the infinitive ending of a verb and add -ando for the -ar verbs, and -iendo for the -er, and -ir verbs.
- amar (to love) – am + ando – amando (loving)
- beber (to drink) – beb + iendo – bebiendo (drinking)
- abrir (to open) – abr + iendo – abriendo (opening)
There’s also a group of irregular gerunds in Spanish that you need to know:
7 Verbs with Gerunds in Spanish
You can use other verbs, instead of estar, with gerunds in Spanish. The most common ones include:
Let’s see each one of these verbs and how to use them with gerunds in Spanish:
You surely know that andar means “to walk,” but if you follow this verb with a gerund, it refers to action in progress. Quite often this combination can have a negative connotation or express an action that is going on and on, without much sense.
Anda diciendo mentiras.
He goes around telling lies.
Anda comiendo chocolate todo el día.
Ana eats chocolate all day long.
Los niños de hoy andan jugando videojuegos todo el día.
Kids today play video games all day long.
Ando pidiendo ayuda y nada.
I keep asking for help and nothing.
If you use continuar with a gerund, it means “to keep on” or “to continue.”
Continuamos ofreciendo nuestros mejores servicios.
We continue to offer our best services.
Continuo estudiando la vida de los pueblos prehispánicos.
I keep on studying the life of the pre-Hispanic peoples.
Mi país continúa siendo el más rico de la región.
My country continues to be the richest in the region.
Ir + gerund has a similar meaning to andar + gerund but without the negative connotation. It expresses action in progress that is evolving.
Voy aprendiendo español poco a poco.
I am learning Spanish little by little.
Vamos entendiendo lo que se nos pide.
We are understanding what is being asked of us.
Vayan pintando primero esta pared.
Start painting this wall first.
Llevar means “to take,” but in combination with a gerund, it expresses an ongoing action or situation.
Te lo llevo diciendo toda la vida.
I’ve been telling you this all my life.
Lleva trabajando 10 años en la misma empresa.
He has been working at the same company for 10 years.
Llevamos estudiando lo mismo desde que inició el año escolar.
We have been studying the same thing since the school year started.
This verb + gerund means to spend time doing something.
Pasa la vida leyendo libros.
He spends his life reading books.
Me la paso limpiando mi casa.
I spend my time cleaning the house.
Pasamos el verano nadando y jugando con los niños de los vecinos.
We spent the summer swimming and playing with the neighbors’ kids.
Seguir can substitute continuar in constructions with gerunds in Spanish. It also expresses continuous and repeated action.
Sigo viviendo en la misma casa.
I’m still living in the same house.
We’re still seeing each other.
¿Sigues trabajando aquí?
Are you still working here?
Venir means “to come,” but if you combine it with a gerund, it changes its meaning. Venir + gerund expresses an action that has been going on for a long time and still continues. Sometimes, it may also convey that you’re tired of the action going on for so long.
Vengo pidiéndotelo toda la vida y nunca lo has hecho.
I have been asking you this all my life and you have never done it.
Los científicos vienen diciendo que tenemos que acabar con el uso del carbono.
Scientists have been saying that we have to end the use of carbon.
Venimos hablando de lo mismo desde el año pasado.
We have been talking about the same thing since last year.
Other Verbs with Gerunds in Spanish
To be honest, you can use almost any verb you want with a gerund, but it won’t convey a progressive action. Instead, gerunds with other verbs behave like adverbs and add information to how the action is being performed.
Pedro siempre estudia cantando.
Pedro always studies singing.
Mi perro camina cojeando.
My dog walks with a limp.
Ganó vendiendo la casa.
He earned by selling his house.
Gerunds in Spanish – Quiz
Choose the correct answer for each question.
1. You can use gerunds in Spanish only with the verb estar to express an ongoing action.
2. There’s a limited group of verbs that can be used with gerunds.
3. Gerunds added to a verb act like adjectives.
4. Which of the following constructions may have a negative connotation?
5. Which of the following verbs can substitute the verb continuar in construction with a gerund and keep the same meaning?
6. Which verb used with a gerund expresses an action that is evolving?
7. What’s the gerund form of decir?
8. What’s the gerund form of dormir?
9. What’s the gerund form caer?
10. What’s the gerund form of pedir?
Practice Gerunds in Spanish
Good job! You’ve learned many new verb and gerund combinations and you know how to use them. If you want to know more about gerunds, check out Spanish Gerunds: The Ultimate Guide to the Progressive Tenses.
What’s next? Using the verb and gerund constructions in a conversation. You only truly learn new grammar constructions if you practice saying them in real life. Practice makes perfect and one day, you’ll start using them spontaneously.
The road to being bilingual is not short, but it’s not only the end of this journey that will bring you benefits. Did you know that simply by studying another language, you’re improving your cognition and decision-making abilities?
Sign up now for a free trial class at Homeschool Spanish Academy. Let our friendly and professional teachers from Guatemala help you reach your fluency goals and practice gerunds in Spanish in a 1-to-1 conversation! Check out our affordable pricing and flexible programs!
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