Past gerund: Italian grammar lesson 235


Dive into the nuances of the Italian language with our guide on the compound gerund! Learn how to express past actions with a twist of cause and effect, and master the art of saying “having done” in Italian like a pro. 🇮🇹✨

  • Grasp the Basics: The Italian compound gerund is a fancy way to talk about past actions that explain why something happened. It’s like saying “having eaten” instead of just “ate”. 🤔
  • Forming the Past Gerund: Combine avendo or essendo with a past participle. Remember, avendo is the go-to for most verbs, but essendo gets the spotlight with verbs of movement, reflexive verbs, and state-of-being verbs. 🤓
  • Gender and Number Agreement: When using essendo, make sure your past participle agrees with the subject’s gender and number. It’s like matching your socks – it just looks better! 👗👔
  • Regular Verb Past Participles: Regular verbs are chill – just add -ato, -uto, or -ito to the stem based on the verb’s ending. Easy peasy! 🍝
  • Watch Out for Irregulars: Some verbs like to play hard to get and have irregular past participles. Keep an eye out for tricksters like stato (been) or fatto (done). 😈
  • Real-World Examples: Get your brain in gear with examples like Avendo studiato (Having studied) or Essendo partiti (Since they left). It’s like seeing the gerund in its natural habitat! 🌍

My thoughts

What is the Italian compound gerund?

The Italian present gerund is the equivalent of the English -ing, as in eating. You’ll spot it because it ends in -ando or in –endo.

And  we use the Italian past gerund to explain why something happened in the past, like in the example below:

Essendomi alzato tardi, non ho avuto tempo di fare colazione.

Having gotten up late, I didn’t have time to have breakfast.
Since I got up late, I didn’t have time to have breakfast.

As you can see, we can translate it with “having gotten up late”, but this basically means “because or since I got up late”.

Let’s find out more about the Italian past gerund!

How to form the Italian past gerund?

We use the Italian past gerund in two ways:

  1. Present gerund of avere (avendo) + past participle
  2. Present gerund of essere (essendo) + past participle

So, you basically have to remember the words avendo and essendo, and the past participles.

The past gerund: avendo or essendo?

We use avendo with most Italian verbs. And we use essendo with the following verbs:

  • Verbs of movement: andare (to go), venire (to come)
  • Reflexive verbs : svegliarsi (to wake up), lavarsi (to wash oneself)
  • Verbs that indicate the state of something or of someone: essere(to be), stare(to be or feel)

When we use the past gerund with the verb essere, the past participle agrees in number and gender with the noun it refers to, like in the example below:

Essendo andata in vacanza, ora mi sento molto meglio.

Since I went on holiday, now I feel much better.

As you can see the person talking said andata (and not andato or andate, since the person talking is a woman).

The past gerund: past participles

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In case you don’t know or don’t remember, the past participles of regular verbs are conjugated as follows:

  • Verbs ending in -are take -ato (mangiare-->mangiato, ballare–> ballato)
  • Verbs ending in -ere take -uto (cadere–> caduto, avere–> avuto)
  • Verbs ending in -ire take -ito (capire–> capito, dormire–> dormito)

There are some irregular past participles. Here are some of them:

  • Essere (to be): stato
  • Fare (to do): fatto
  • Dire(to say): detto
  • Chiedere (to ask): chiesto
  • Leggere (to read): letto
  • Mettere (to put): messo
  • Vedere(to see): visto
  • Vivere (to live): vissuto

The Italian past gerund: examples

Let’s now have a look at some examples with the Italian past gerund:

Avendo vissuto un anno a Roma, parla italiano perfettamente.

Having lived in Rome for a year, he speaks Italian perfectly.

Avendo studiato tutto il pomeriggio, siamo andati a dormire presto.

Since we studied the whole afternoon, we went to sleep early.

Avendo saputo come sono andate le cose, Giovanni ha preso una decisione.

Having found out how things went, Giovanni made a decision.

Essendo partiti presto, sono riusciti ad arrivare in tempo.

Since they left early, they managed to get there on time.

Essendo stato già tre volte a Palermo, l’anno prossimo andrò a Napoli.

Since I’ve already been three times to Palermo, next year I’ll go to Naples.

How to form the Italian past gerund?

In two ways: Present gerund of avere (avendo) + past participle or Present gerund of essere (essendo) + past participle

When do we use essendo?

With the following verbs: Verbs of movement (andare - to go; venire - to come), Reflexive verbs (svegliarsi – to wake up), and Verbs that indicate the state of something/someone (essere – to be; stare – to be/feel)

Italian word of the day
Hai voglia di fare una passeggiata?
Do you feel like going for a walk?
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