The English gerund is the -ing form of the verb. In Spanish, it’s the –ndo form.

Formation: Regular verbs

I. -AR verbs

Drop the infinitive ending and add –ando.

hablar   hablando
tomar   tomando
mirar   mirando

II. -ER verbs and IR verbs

Drop the infinitive ending and add –iendo.

aprender   aprendiendo
comer   comiendo
poner   poniendo
abrir   abriendo
describir   describiendo
escribir   escribiendo

Formation: Irregular Verbs

I. Verbs with stem that ends in vowel: Drop the infinitive and add –yendo.

caer   cayendo
leer   leyendo
traer   trayendo

II. -IR verbs with stem-change in third person pretérito: Same stem-change in the present participle.

decir   diciendo
dormir   durmiendo
pedir   pidiendo
poder   pudiendo
venir   viniendo

III. Ir (to go) –> yendo


The Spanish gerund has two main uses.

1. Gerund

The gerund is an impersonal verb form which is used as an adjective or adverb to express an action in progress. It refers to an action which is simultaneous with or prior to the action of the other verb in the sentence.

Caminando por la plaza, vi a mi abuelo.    While walking in the plaza, I saw my grandfather.
Pasó todas sus vacaciones esperando una sorpresa.   He spent his entire vacation waiting for a surprise.
Aprendo mucho estudiando con ellos.    I learn a lot by studying with them.

2. Progressive / Continuous Tenses

Present Estoy leyendo.   I am reading.
Imperfect Estaban estudiando.   They were studying.
Past Estuve leyendo.   I was reading.
Future Estará trabajando.   He will be working.

 Note: In English, the verb form in the second usage is called the present participle.

 The Spanish gerund cannot be used as a noun, the way it is in English. This is a common mistake, even for native Spanish speakers.

Me gusta leer.
Me gusta leyendo.
  I like reading.
Trabajar es importante.
Trabajando es importante.
  Working is important.

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