Verbal Periphrasis in Spanish

Overview

In Spanish, a verbal periphrasis is a verbal construction made of two verb forms, a conjugated form and an impersonal form (an infinitive, gerund, or participle). Both the informal future and present progressive use verbal periphrasis.

Voy a comprar una camisa.
I am going to buy a shirt.
 
Está nadando muy bien.
He is swimming very well.
 

Common Types of Verbal Periphrasis

Ir + Preposition + Infinitive

Formula

conjugated form of ir + preposition + infinitive

Voy a estudiar.
I am going to study.
 

Haber + Past Participle

Formula

conjugated form of haber + past participle

¿Has ido a España?
Have you been to Spain?
 

Estar + Gerund

Formula

conjugated form of estar + gerund

Están leyendo un libro.
She is reading a book.
 

List of Common Examples of Verbal Periphrasis

Verb + Infinitivo

acabar de  + infinitivoto have just done something
acertar a  + infinitivoto manage to do something
acostumbrar a  + infinitivoto get used to doing something
alcanzar a  + infinitivoto be able to do something
cesar de  + infinitivoto cease to do something
comenzar a  + infinitivoto being to do something
deber  + infinitivoto have to do something
dejar de  + infinitivoto stop doing something
echar(se) a  + infinitivoto burst/break into doing something
empezar a  + infinitivoto begin to do something
estar por  + infinitivoto be on the verge of doing something
estar a punto de  + infinitivoto be about to do something
haber de/que  + infinitivoto have to do something
ir a  + infinitivogoing to do something
poder  + infinitivoto be able to do something
ponerse a  + infinitivoto start to do something
quedar por  + infinitivoto remain to do something
llegar a  + infinitivoto come to do something
romper a  + infinitivoto suddenly start doing something
soler  + infinitivo(to do something usually
venir a  + infinitivoto come to do something
volver a  + infinitivoto return to do something
tardar en  + infinitivoto take a long time to do something
tener que  + infinitivoto have to do something
terminar de  + infinitivoto finish doing something

Verb + Gerundio

andar  + gerundioto be doing something
estar  + gerundioto be doing something
ir  + gerundioto be gradually doing something
llevar  + gerundioto continue to do something from the past
seguir  + gerundioto keep doing something
venir  + gerundioto have been doing something

Verb + Past Participle

dejar hecho
 
to leave completed
haber  + past participleto have done something
llevar puesto
 
to have on
sentirse  + past participleto feel + past participle
verse  + past participleto see oneself as + past participle

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