Present participles are used to express several continuous actions in Spanish. You can find the present participle right under the definition when you conjugate a word using our conjugator. The present participle in Spanish ends in a form of -ndo, which is the equivalent to the English -ing ending. In Spanish, it is used to indicate several ongoing actions or states and habitual actions.

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

A note on using the term gerund
In Spanish, the verb form that ends in -ndo is called gerundio and in English, present participle. While gerundio sounds much like the English word gerund, they are not quite the same thing.
In English, the gerund and present participle have the same form; both end in -ing. But the gerund is a verb used as a noun (Swimming is fun.) and the present participle is used to form a progressive tense (I am swimming.) or it is used as an adjective (Did you buy those swimming shorts here?).
In Spanish, there is no gerund as the only verb form that can function as a noun in Spanish is the infinitive. The gerundio is the present participle used as an adverb (Sigue buscando el perro.). The participio presente, or present participle, is the verb form that ends in -ndo and is used to indicate an ongoing or habitual action (Estoy buscando el perro.).

How to form the regular Spanish Present Participle

To form the past participle of regular verbs, 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.

  infinitive stem present participle
-AR verbs hablar habl- hablando
-ER verbs tener ten- teniendo
-IR verbs vivir viv- viviendo

There are a few irregular present participle endings which help to maintain pronunciation:

1. Unstressed I Between Vowels: “Yendo” Present Participles

If the stem of -ER or -IR verbs ends in a vowel, -iendo changes to -yendo.

  infinitive stem present participle
-ER verbs atraer atra- atrayendo
  caer ca- cayendo
  contraer contra- contrayendo
  creer cre- creyendo
  leer le- leyendo
  traer tra- trayendo
-IR verbs construir constru- construyendo
  contribuir contribu- contribuyendo
  excluir exclu- excluyendo
  destruir destru- destruyendo
  huir hu- huyendo
  incluir inclu- incluyendo
  influir influ- influyendo
  oír o- oyendo

Whenever an unstressed i appears between two vowels, the spelling always changes to a y, not just in the preceding present participles.

2. Irregular IR

Ir (to go) is irregular in many tenses. If you were to treat it as a regular -IR verb, take away the -ir, you would be left with simply -iendo. When the ie combination is stressed, it changes to a y, making the present participles for ir: yendo.

infinitive stem present participle
ir * yendo

3. More Irregular Spellings: Ñendo Present Participles

If the stem of -ER or -IR verbs ends in ll or ñ, -iendo changes to -endo. (Since ll and ñ already have an i sound in them, it is not necessary to add it to the present participle ending.)

  infinitive stem present participle
-ER verbs tañer tañ- tañendo
-IR verbs bullir bull- bullendo
  engullir engull- engullendo
  escabullirse escabull- escabulléndose
  mullir mull- mullendo
  gruñir gruñ- gruñendo
  reñir reñ- riñendo
  teñir teñ- teñendo

4. Stem Changing Present Participles

There are also some verbs that need a stem-change before adding the present participle 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 present participle form. The -ER verb poder also maintains its preterite stem-change in the present participle form.

infinitive 3rd person preterite present participle
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 riñió riñendo
repetir repitió repitiendo
seguir siguió siguiendo
servir sirvió sirviendo
sugerir sugirió sugiriendo
venir vino viniendo
poder pudo pudiendo
dormir durmió durmiendo
morir murió muriendo

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