Language Guide
Verbs
Present Participles in Spanish

Present Participles in Spanish

Quick Answer

Present participles in Spanish are verb forms used to express continuous or ongoing actions. Spanish present participles end in -ndo, which is the equivalent of the English ending -ing.

Check out the present participles in the examples below.

Él estaba leyendo.
He was reading.
 
Sigo pensando en ti.
I keep thinking about you.
 

A Note on the Term Gerund

  • In Spanish, the verb form that ends in -ndo is called the gerundio . It is used in compound verb forms, such as Estoy nadando. (I'm swimming.), as well as adverbially, as in Salió corriendo. (literally, He left running.)
  • In English, a gerund is the noun form of a verb, such as swimming in the sentence Swimming is fun. (Es divertido nadar.). In Spanish, this form is translated using an infinitive verb, such as nadar.
  • The term used for the -ing form used in compound verbs in English is the present participle.

How to Form Regular Spanish Gerundios

To form the gerundio of regular verbs, most of the time you just drop the infinitive ending (-ar, -er, -ir) and add -ando to the stem of -ar verbs and -iendo to the stem of -er and -ir verbs. Check out the table below to see how to form gerundios.

Verb TypeInfinitive ExampleStem ExampleGerundio Example
-ar verb
hablar
 
habl-
hablando
 
-er verb
tener
 
ten-
teniendo
 
-ir verb
vivir
 
viv-
viviendo
 

Stem? I thought we were talking about verbs, not plants.

In Spanish grammar lingo, a stem is the verb form you're left with if you take the -ar, -er or -ir away from the end of an infinitive.

Example: The stem of hablar is habl-.

Gerundios that March to a Different Beat

There are also several types of gerundios that don't follow the above rules. Let's learn about them now!

1. -yendo

If the stem of an -er or -ir verb ends in a vowel, -iendo becomes -yendo. Check out the examples below.

Verb TypeInfinitive ExampleStem ExampleGerundio Example
-er verb
atraer
 
atra-
atrayendo
 
-er verb
caer
 
ca-
cayendo
 
-er verb
contraer
 
contra-
contrayendo
 
-er verb
creer
 
cre-
creyendo
 
-er verb
leer
 
le-
leyendo
 
-er verb
traer
 
tra-
trayendo
 
-ir verb
construir
 
constru-
construyendo
 
-ir verb
contribuir
 
contribu-
contribuyendo
 
-ir verb
excluir
 
exclu-
excluyendo
 
-ir verb
destruir
 
destru-
destruyendo
 
-ir verb
huir
 
hu-
huyendo
 
-ir verb
incluir
 
inclu-
incluyendo
 
-ir verb
influir
 
influ-
influyendo
 
-ir verb
oír
 
o-
oyendo
 

Pro tip: whenever an unstressed i appears between two vowels, the spelling always changes to a y.

2. Irregular ir

Ir  (to go) is an irregular verb, and does not follow the pattern above. For pronunciation reasons, the gerundio of ir is yendo .

3. -endo

If the stem of an -er or -ir verb ends in -ll or , -iendo becomes -endo.

Verb TypeInfinitive ExampleStem ExampleGerundio Example
-er verb
tañer
 
tañ-
tañendo
 
-ir verb
bullir
 
bull-
bullendo
 
-ir verb
engullir
 
engull-engullendo @
-ir verb
mullir
 
mull-
mullendo
 
-ir verb
gruñir
 
gruñ-
gruñendo
 
-ir verb
reñir
 
reñ-
riñendo
 
-ir verb
teñir
 
teñ-
teñendo
 

4. Stem-Changing Present Participles

There are also some verbs that need a stem change before adding the gerundio ending to maintain pronunciation:

  • Any -ir verb that has a stem change in the third person preterite (e>i, or o>u) will have the same stem change in the gerundio. The -er verb poder  also maintains its preterite stem change in the gerundio.
Stem ChangeInfinitive ExampleThird Person Preterite FormGerundio Example
e>i
advertir
 
advirtió
 
advirtiendo
 
e>i
competir
 
compitió
 
compitiendo
 
e>i
conseguir
 
consiguió
 
consiguiendo
 
e>i
consentir
 
consintió
 
consintiendo
 
e>i
convertir
 
convirtió
 
convirtiendo
 
e>i
decir
 
dijo
 
diciendo
 
e>i
hervir
 
hirvió
 
hirviendo
 
e>i
mentir
 
mintió
 
mintiendo
 
e>i
pedir
 
pidió
 
pidiendo
 
e>i
reñir
 
riñó
 
riñendo
 
e>i
repetir
 
repitió
 
repitiendo
 
e>i
seguir
 
siguió
 
siguiendo
 
e>i
servir
 
sirvió
 
sirviendo
 
e>i
sugerir
 
sugirió
 
sugiriendo
 
e>i
venir
 
vino
 
viniendo
 
o>u
dormir
 
durmió
 
durmiendo
 
o>u
morir
 
murió
 
muriendo
 

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