In Spanish, a verbal periphrasis is a verbal construction made of two verb forms, a conjugated form and an impersonal form (an infinitive, a present participle, or a past participle). Verbal periphrasis is used in the informal future, the present progressive, and the perfect tenses.
Common Types of Verbal Periphrasis
Below you'll find three common types of verbal periphrasis used in Spanish.
1. Ir + Preposition + Infinitive
This first type of verbal periphrasis consists of a conjugated form of ir + a preposition + an infinitive.
2. Haber + Past Participle
This second type of verbal periphrasis consists of a conjugated form of haber + a past participle.
3. Estar + Present Participle
This third type of verbal periphrasis consists of a conjugated form of estar + a present participle.
List of Common Examples of Verbal Periphrasis
Below you'll find a list of some common verbal periphrases. Remember that only the first verb in each periphrasis is conjugated.
Verb + Infinitive
Verb + Present Participle
Verb + Past Participle
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.
Read more about the verb forms and tenses used in verbal periphrasis in these articles: