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Present participles


Infinitives and present participles can someone simplify them for me.


updated NOV 3, 2009
posted by heatmp

2 Answers


An infinitive is merely the "to" form of the verb in English. Examples: to run, to play, to see, to live,etc. In Spanish the infinitive is just one word, and that word is recognizable as an infinitive because it ends in either an "-ar" "-er" or an "-ir". Examples in Spanish with the English translations: "hablar" - to talk, "comer" - to eat, "vivir" - to live.

Present participle is the "-ing" form in English. For example: running, swimming, singing, eating, living. In Spanish, the present participle ends in either "-ando" or "-iendo" (with a very occasional spelling change, which is not important at the introductory level). How do you know whether to use an "-ando" or "-iendo"? Simple! The "-ar" infinitives will take "-ando". For example: "hablar" - to talk..."hablando" - talking. "Nadar" - to swim..."nadando" - swimming. The "-er" ot the "-ir" infintives both take the "-iendo" ending. For example: "Comer" - to eat...."comiendo" - eating. "Vivir"- to live..."viviendo" - living.

I hope this has answered your question.

updated MAR 6, 2014
posted by mountaingirl123

I think that Mountaingirl did a fine job of explaining the present participle (gerund), and would only like to add a few important points for your consideration. There are many similarities as to how the gerund is used in Spanish, but there are also a few distinctions.


1). Form continuous tenses:

Estuvieron hablando toda la noche - They were talking all night.

2). Indicate how an action is performed:

Siempre iba sonriendo a la práctica - He always went to practice smiling

Differences peculiar to the Spanish gerund

1). Placing a verb after seguir or continuar to indicate a continuing action requires the gerund (can take the infinitive in English).

Ya te va a salir o lo vas a lograr, sigue practicando - It’ll come, just keep practicing

2). Spanish usually uses the infinitive to translate the English verbal noun (-ing nouns)

Ver es creer - Seeing is believing

3). Following a preposition the infinitive is used in Spanish to translate the English -ing form.

Después de desayunar, salió para montar en bicicleta - After eating breakfast, she went out to ride her bike

4). The Spanish gerund is generally not used as an adjective; instead, they typically use adjectives ending in -ante, -iente, or -ente.

Un alumno hispanohablante - A Spanish-speaking student

El apartamento no tiene nada agua corriente - The apartment doesn't have any running water

updated NOV 3, 2009
posted by Izanoni1
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