The progressive –ing: Italian grammar lesson 142

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Italian language tutor, course author. MEng, MBA. Member of the International Association of Hyperpolyglots (HYPIA). After learning 12 languages, I can tell you that we all master languages by listening and mimicking. I couldn’t find an app to recommend to my students, so I made my own one. With my method, you’ll be speaking Italian from Lesson 1.
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Unlock the secrets of the Italian gerundio and master the art of expressing ongoing actions just like a native! Dive into the nuances of forming and using the gerundio semplice to spice up your Italian conversations. 🇮🇹✨

  • Gerund Basics: The Italian gerundio mirrors the English -ing form, adding motion to your sentences. It’s a game-changer for sounding more Italian! 🔄
  • Forming the Gerund: For -are verbs, slap on -ando; for -ere and -ire verbs, it’s -endo. Voilà, you’re in action mode! 🛠️
  • Irregular Verbs Alert: Some verbs are rebels and form the gerund from their imperfetto tense. Keep an eye out to avoid slip-ups! 👀
  • Gerund + Stare: Pair the gerund with stare to nail the present progressive tense. You’ll be chatting about what’s happening right now like a pro! 🗣️
  • Gerund on Its Own: When multitasking, drop the stare and let the gerund fly solo. It’s perfect for describing two simultaneous actions. 🏃‍♂️💭
  • Future Plans: Planning ahead? Use the gerund with the future tense of stare to talk about what you’ll be doing. Future you will thank you! 📅

What is the gerund in Italian?

To convey a similar meaning to the English progressive tense with -ing (eating, sleeping, studying, etc.) in Italian we use the gerundio (gerund).

Lucia sta mangiando.

Lucia is eating.

Voi state imparando a nuotare.

You are learning to swim.

Sto studiando per l’esame di domani.

I am studying for tomorrow’s exam.

In this lesson, we will learn how and when to use the Italian gerundio semplice, which is mainly translated with the –ing form.

Careful though: there exists a gerund in English too, but its use is not at all the same as the Italian gerundio.

present progressive italian

How to form gerundio semplice?

Forming and recognizing the gerundio semplice in Italian is very simple: just add -ando to the stem of -are verbs and -endo to the stem of -ere and -ire verbs:

  • -are: mangiare (to eat) becomes mangiando (eating)
  • -ere: vedere (to see) becomes vedendo (seeing)
  • -ire: dormire (to sleep) becomes dormendo (sleeping)

As always in Italian, there are irregular verbs that form the gerund differently starting from root of their imperfetto tense. For example, for the verbs

Have a look at the table below:

infinito imperfetto gerundio semplice
dire (to say) dicevo dicendo
fare (to do) facevo facendo
bere (to drink) bevevo bevendo
tradurre (to translate) traducevo traducendo

gerund in italian

When to use gerundio semplice?

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This tense in Italian is mainly used in combination with the verb stare, both in the present and imperfect tense to talk about the progression of action as it’s happening or to describe two actions that happen at the same time:

Mario sta cenando.

Mario is having dinner.

Stavamo parlando quando sono arrivati.

We were talking when they arrived.

Cosa state facendo?

What are you doing?

This construction can also be used with the future of stare to refer to actions that will happen at the same time.

Quando ti sveglierai, io starò già lavorando.

When you wake up, I will already be working.

Quando arriveremo, probabilmente starete dormendo.

When we get there, you will probably be sleeping.

gerundio italiano

If the subject of the two contemporaneous actions is the same, you can use it on its own without the auxiliary stare.

Have a look at the examples below:

Correndo mi rilasso.

Running, I can relax.

Luca è caduto scendendo le scale.

Luca fell coming down the stairs.

Ho preparato questa torta pensando ai miei genitori.

I made this cake thinking of my parents.

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FAQs on The progressive –ing: Italian grammar lesson 142

What is the gerund rule in Italian?

To form the gerund, one must take the infinitive of the verb and drop the suffixes -are, -ere, or -ire. Then, they need to add -ando or -endo to the remaining verb stem. For -are verbs, the suffix added is -ando, while for -ere and -ire verbs, the suffix added is -endo.

What are irregular gerund verbs in Italian?

In Italian, these five verbs avere, essere, dire, bere, and fare are considered irregular and exhibit a distinct form of the present gerund. Specifically, the present gerund form of these verbs are avendo, essendo, dicendo, bevendo, and facendo.

Italian word of the day
Vorrei un cappuccino, per favore.
I’d like a cappuccino, please.
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