Present Participles in Spanish

Quick Answer

Present participles are verb forms used to express continuous, or ongoing, actions in Spanish. The present participle in Spanish ends in -ndo, which is the equivalent to 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 the 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 as an infinitive verb, like 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.

Verb TypeInfinitiveStemGerundio
-ar verb
hablar
 
habl-
hablando
 
-er verb
tener
 
ten-
teniendo
 
-ir verb
vivir
 
viv-
viviendo
 

There are a several types of irregular gerundios.

1. Yendo Present Participles

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

Verb TypeInfinitiveStemGerundio
-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
 

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 is not formed following the pattern above. For pronunciation reasons, the gerundio of ir is yendo .

3. More Irregular Spellings: Ñendo and Llendo Present Participles

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

Verb TypeInfinitiveStemGerundio
-er verb
tañer
 
tañ-
tañendo
 
-ir verb
bullir
 
bull-
bullendo
 
-ir verb
engullir
 
engull-
engullendo
 
-ir verb
escabullirse
 
escabull-
escabulléndose
 
-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.
InfinitiveThird Person Preterite FormGerundio
advertir
 
advirtió
 
advirtiendo
 
competir
 
compitió
 
compitiendo
 
conseguir
 
consiguió
 
consiguiendo
 
consentir
 
consintió
 
consintiendo
 
convertir
 
convirtió
 
convirtiendo
 
decir
 
dijo
 
diciendo
 
hervir
 
hirvió
 
hirviendo
 
mentir
 
mintió
 
mintiendo
 
pedir
 
pidió
 
pidiendo
 
reñir
 
riñó
 
riñendo
 
repetir
 
repitió
 
repitiendo
 
seguir
 
siguió
 
siguiendo
 
servir
 
sirvió
 
sirviendo
 
sugerir
 
sugirió
 
sugiriendo
 
venir
 
vino
 
viniendo
 
poder
 
pidió
 
pidiendo
 
dormir
 
durmió
 
durmiendo
 
morir
 
murió
 
muriendo
 

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