The progressive –ing: Italian grammar lesson 142

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Key Takeaways

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! 📅

Quick facts

How is the Italian gerundio formed for -are verbs?

For -are verbs, add "-ando" to the stem, e.g., "mangiare" becomes "mangiando".

What suffix is added to -ere verbs to form the gerundio?

Add "-endo" to the stem of -ere verbs, e.g., "vedere" becomes "vedendo".

How do you form the gerundio for -ire verbs in Italian?

Add "-endo" to the stem of -ire verbs, e.g., "dormire" becomes "dormendo".

Are there irregular verbs in the Italian gerundio?

Yes, irregular verbs like "dire," "fare," "bere," and "tradurre" form the gerundio differently.

How does "dire" change in the gerundio form?

"Dire" becomes "dicendo" in the gerundio form, derived from its imperfetto "dicevo".

What's the gerundio form of "fare"?

"Fare" becomes "facendo" in the gerundio, based on its imperfetto "facevo".

How is "bere" conjugated in the gerundio form?

"Bere" changes to "bevendo" in the gerundio, from its imperfetto "bevevo".

When is the gerundio semplice used with "stare"?

Use it with "stare" to indicate ongoing actions, e.g., "Lucia sta mangiando" (Lucia is eating).

Can the gerundio semplice indicate future actions?

Yes, use future tense of "stare" with gerundio to indicate future actions, e.g., "starò lavorando" (I will be working).

Is it possible to use the gerundio without "stare"?

Yes, if the subject is the same for concurrent actions, e.g., "Correndo mi rilasso" (Running, I can relax).

My Thoughts

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.

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

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.

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.

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions

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
l’influenza
Example
Hai la febbre! Sì, mi è venuta l’influenza.
You have a fever! Yes, I got influenza.
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