Quick Answer

Spanish participles are verb forms that can be used to form compound verbs or which can be used as adjectives. There are two types of participles you're likely to use quite a lot:

Present Participles

Present participles are called gerundiosin Spanish and are used to form progressive tenses.

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.

Check out the present participles in the examples below.

Ella estaba cocinando.
She was cooking.
Estoy trabajando en este momento.
I'm working right now.

Past Participles

Past participles are called participiosin Spanish, and are used to form perfect tenses, as well as adjectives. For example, check out the past participles in the examples below.

Mi hermano nunca ha ido a México.
My brother has never been to Mexico.
Ellos habían cambiado la ropa antes de ir a la cena.
They had changed their clothes before going to dinner.
Los artículos ya vendidos están en la caja al lado de la puerta.
The sold items are in the box next to the door.

Want to learn more about Spanish adjectives? Check out these articles!

Gender: Adjectives

Noun-Adjective Agreement

Short-Form Adjectives in Spanish

Superlative Adjectives in Spanish

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