Gerund and Infinitive / Gerundio e infinitivo

To form the gerundio (-ing form in English), change the infinitive ending:
from –ar to –ando:
hablar → hablando
from –er, –ir to –iendo:
comer → comiendo ; vivir → viviendo
ir stem-changing verbs are affected: pedir : pidiendo • dormir : durmiendo
ir and –er verbs with stems ending in a vowel add –yendo:
traer : trayendo • oír : oyendo • creer : creyendo • ir : yendo • destruir : destruyendo
The gerund does not change to agree (in gender, number,etc.) with any other word in a sentence.

 A. THE GERUNDIO is used for actions in progress (present participle in English):

A1. with the appropriate form of estar (or hay) to form the progressive tenses:

Lisa está estudiando.
Estamos aprendiendo.
No hay nadie hablando.
Lisa is studying.
We are learning.
There’s no one talking.

~  Note that in Spanish this construction cannot be used to express the future, as it frequently is in English (I am leaving next week). The simple present can be used in this sense: “Salgo la próxima semana”.

A2. with the verbs seguir and continuar to mean “go on doing something”:

Continuó diciendo.
Siguió cantando.
He went on saying.
She continued to sing.

 ~  Note that, unlike English, Spanish does not offer the option of using an infinitive after seguir or continuar:
He went on to say → Siguió diciendo.

A3. to express “by doing” or “while doing” something (no preposition in Spanish):

Vas a mejorar estudiando mucho.
Me duermo leyendo esto.
You are going to improve by studying a lot.
I fall asleep (while) reading this.

 Spanish does not use the gerundio as an adjectiveClauses or different expressions have to be used:

the answering machine
a never-ending process
passengers carrying a big case…
an intriguing beginning
a disappointing ending
la máquina contestadora (el contestador)
un proceso que nunca termina (interminable)
los pasajeros que llevan una maleta grande…
un comienzo intrigante
un final decepcionante

 B. THE INFINITIVE is the verb form that Spanish uses as a noun:

B1. as the subject of a sentence or the object of a verb*:

Ver es creer.
No me gusta estudiar.
Decidir casi siempre es difícil.
Seeing is believing.
I don’t like studying.
Deciding is difficult most of the time.

B2. immediately after any preposition:

Voy a salir después de comer.
Es su manera de hablar.
Habla sin usar las manos.
I am going to leave after eating.
It’s his/her way of speaking.
He speaks without using his hands.

 Note that, unlike English, Spanish does not use the gerundio after prepositions or as the subject of a sentence. The infinitive must be used in such cases:
the problem of leaving → el problema de salirliving is good → vivir es bueno

*  Many verbs require no preposition before the infinitive: Quiero dormir.
Some, however, require different prepositions: Sueño con viajar. Ayudan a mejorar. Tratamos de entender. .

 Two useful idiomatic constructions involving the infinitive:

• Al + infinitive indicates two actions occurring at the same time, as English at, on, in, upon doing:

Cuidado al cruzar.
Al entrar, cierra la puerta.
Tuvo suerte al encontrar al policía.
Be careful in crossing.
Close the door upon entering.
He was lucky in finding the policeman.

Acabar de + infinitive is used to express having just done something:

Acabo de resolver el problema.
Acaban de salir.
Esta cuenta acaba de llegar.
I have just solved the problem.
They have just left.
This bill has just arrived.


Translate half of the sentences.

  1. You are going to improve by studying a lot.
  2. I fall asleep (while) reading this.
  3. I am going to leave after eating.
  4. Deciding is difficult most of the time.
  5. I have just solved the problem.