Spanish progressive tenses: Gerunds: “-ando”, “-iendo”

spanish gerunds ando iendo

When we talk about “gerundios” in Spanish, you probably think that it is just like gerunds in English. The English gerund is the “-ing” suffix we add to some verbs. Nonetheless, in Spanish, its use is quite different. With gerunds, Spanish speakers express continuous action, or an action currently happening.

Learning how to use the Spanish gerunds “-ando” and “-iendo” is essential. So, if you want to improve your Spanish skills and learn new ways of using gerunds in conversations, just keep reading on!

What is the gerund?

We can define gerund as a non-personal form of the verb. In turn, we can say that it is one of the non-finite forms of the verb. This indicates that one action is occurring simultaneously with another.

It is a verb form that is not defined by features such as tense, mood, number, or person. We can also use the gerund with the endings “-ando”, “-iendo”, and “-yendo”. These actions take place without having a determined beginning or end.

In Spanish, we have two types of gerunds, the simple gerund (“el gerundio simple”) and the compound gerund (“el gerundio compuesto”). When we talk about the simple ones we say that they reflect actions that are being executed. But, that doesn’t mean they haven’t concluded or finished.

Likewise, we have the compound gerund. We build it with the gerund of the verb “haber” and the participle of the verb that we conjugate.

Here are some examples below,

María estaba leyendo un viernes por la tarde.

Mary was reading on a Friday afternoon.

Sofía estaba cantando una canción.

Sophia was singing a song.

La profesora, habiéndolo comunicado varias veces, nos tomó un examen sobre conocimientos ortográficos.

The teacher, having communicated it several times, gave us a test on spelling knowledge.

On the other side, there is an irregular construction that takes place when the root of the verb ends in a vowel, in which case the /i/ in “-iendo” becomes /y/; (“-yendo”).

Now, let’s see a few examples of the gerund “-yendo”.

Sigue creyendo que van a jugar sin hacer trampa.

Keep believing that they are going to play without cheating.

Él no podía creer lo que estaba oyendo.

He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

La semana pasada estaba leyendo un libro de amor buenísimo.

Last week I was reading a great love book.

On some occasions, we can use gerunds as adverbs. This is because they provide information about how the main action is carried out.

Here is an example,

Llegué corriendo.

I came running.

How to use the gerund with ‘-ando’ and ‘-iendo’

The gerund can present two alternative endings depending on which conjugation the verb belongs to. Verbs of the first conjugation, and verbs for the second and third conjugation.

We form the gerund by adding “-ando” to the root of the verbs of the first conjugation, which end in “-ar”. For example, “andar / andando”; “saltar / saltando”; “amar / amando”.

We can also build it for the second and third conjugation of verbs that end in “-er” or “-ir”, replacing them with the ending “-iendo”. Here are some examples so you can see the gerund conjugations of the verbs. For example: “correr / corriendo”; “comer / comiendo”; “mentir / mintiendo”; “decir / diciendo”.

In addition, we will see some examples of conjugations of verbs with gerunds in sentences.

Obtuvo todo lo que quiso insistiendo hasta el final.

He got everything he wanted by insisting until the end.

Mi mamá está cocinando un pollo al horno con papas.

My mom is cooking a baked chicken with potatoes.

Estábamos limpiando el garaje cuando llamaste, por eso no escuchamos el teléfono.

We were cleaning out the garage when you called, so we didn’t hear the phone.

Types of the gerunds

Gerunds are verbal modifiers and generally have an adverbial value. The gerund can not only go with the main verb but can also work as a verbal periphrasis. But, depending on the use they have in the sentence, they can receive different names as we will explain below.

First of all, we have “gerundios de modo”, or “gerunds of mode”. These are the ones that explain how we act. Besides, answer questions such as “how?” (“¿cómo?”) or “in what way?” (“¿de qué modo?”) and provides information about the action.

For example,

Llegó cantando una canción.

He came singing a song.

Second, we have “gerundios de tiempo”, or “gerunds of time”. These have the function of expressing that both actions take place at the same time. Also, answer questions like “when?” (“¿cuándo?”).

For example,

El hombre se enteró de la noticia estando de vacaciones.

The man learned the news while on vacation.

Third, we have the “gerundio causal”, or “casual gerund”. It answers the question “why?” (“¿por qué?”) and expresses the cause of something.

For example,

Ellos aprobaron el examen estudiando con dedicación.

They passed the exam by studying hard.

Fourth, we have the “gerundio condicional”, or “conditional gerund”. This gerund establishes a condition that must be met for the main action of the sentence to take place. Besides, it answers the question “under what circumstances?” (“¿bajo qué condiciones?”), and conditional sentences can replace it.

For example,

Parando cada diez minutos, no llegaremos hasta mañana.

Stopping every ten minutes, we will not get there until tomorrow.

Finally, we have the “gerundio concesivo”, or “concessive conditional”. It answers the question “despite what circumstances?” (“¿a pesar de qué condiciones?”). This provides information about the obstacles to carrying out the main action.

For example,

Él aún estando lesionado, ganó la carrera.

He even being injured, won the race.

There are so many more types of gerunds, but these are the most common and important in Spanish.

‘Estudiando y aprendiendo’

In summary, we use the gerund when we refer to an action that is happening and does not have a defined time. But there are some things you need to be careful about. First of all, the gerund is not a noun like in English. In Spanish, if you want the action to act as a noun, you must use the infinitive form of the verb.

Therefore, if you follow the rules and learn how to conjugate the gerund with the verb, you will have no further issues. Don’t forget to practice the gerund and delve into its uses. After all, practicing is key to improving and achieving success.

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