Language Guide
Verbal Periphrasis in Spanish

Verbal Periphrasis in Spanish

Quick Answer

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

  • conjugated form of ir + preposition + infinitive
Voy a estudiar.
I am going to study.

Haber + Past Participle

  • conjugated form of haber + past participle
¿Has ido a España?
Have you been to Spain?

Estar + Gerund

  • conjugated form of estar + gerund
Están leyendo un libro.
She is reading a book.

List of Common Examples of Verbal Periphrasis

Verb + Infinitivo

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

Verb + Gerundio

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

Verb + Past Participle

Verb + Past ParticipleMeaning
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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