Grammar 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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