The Italian present gerund: Italian grammar lesson 234

Key Takeaways

A reader will learn how to form and use the Italian present gerund in various contexts, including actions in progress and reasons for actions.

  • The Italian present gerund ends in -ando or -endo and is used with the verb stare.
  • Form the gerund by changing -are verbs to -ando and -ere and -ire verbs to -endo.
  • Use the gerund with stare to describe actions in progress, forming the present and past continuous tenses.
  • Without stare, the gerund explains why, how, or while something happens, often translating to “because,” “by,” or “while.”
  • Irregular gerunds include verbs like bere (drinking: bevendo), dire (saying: dicendo), and fare (doing: facendo).

Quick facts

How do Italian gerunds typically end?

Italian gerunds end in -ando for -are verbs and -endo for -ere and -ire verbs.

When are gerunds used with "stare"?

Gerunds with "stare" describe actions in progress, forming present and past continuous tenses.

What is an example of present continuous in Italian?

"Sto leggendo" translates to "I’m reading," showing an action happening now.

How do you form the past continuous in Italian?

Use the imperfect tense of "stare" plus the gerund, like "Stavano cucinando" (They were cooking).

What are some common irregular gerunds in Italian?

"Bere" becomes "bevendo," "dire" becomes "dicendo," and "fare" becomes "facendo."

How is the gerund used without "stare" in Italian?

Without "stare," gerunds explain why, how, or while something happens, such as "Studiando molto" (Because she studied a lot).

Can you give an example of the gerund explaining "how" in Italian?

"Ho imparato l’italiano vivendo in Italia" means "I learned Italian by living in Italy."

How does the gerund indicate simultaneous actions in Italian?

"Cammina, parlando al telefono" translates to "She walks while speaking on the phone."

What is the present tense conjugation of "stare"?

Present tense conjugation includes "sto," "stai," "sta," "stiamo," "state," "stanno."

How do you conjugate "stare" in the imperfect tense?

Imperfect tense forms are "stavo," "stavi," "stava," "stavamo," "stavate," "stavano."

My Thoughts

The Italian present gerund

The gerund is a verbal mood. You’ll spot it very easily because it ends in -ando or in -endo.

We use the gerund in two cases:

  1. With the verb stare

Sto mangiando.

I’m eating.

Sta piovendo.

It’s raining.

2. Without the verb stare

Ho imparato il francese leggendo libri.

I learned French by reading books.

Let’s find out more about the Italian gerund!

🔊
Sto ascoltando la musica.

How to form the Italian present gerund?

The gerund follows a pattern and is pretty regular.

Basically, the verbs that end in -are in the infinitive end in -ando in the gerund.

And the verbs that end in -ere and -ire in the infinitive end in -endo in the gerund.

Easy, right?

Here are some examples:

  • Mangiare (to eat): mangiando
  • Cantare (to sing): cantando
  • Leggere (to read): leggendo
  • Scendere (to go down): scendendo
  • Dormire (to sleep): dormendo
  • Finire (to finish): finendo

However, there are some verbs that have an irregular gerund. These are the most common ones:

  • Bere (to drink): bevendo
  • Dire (to say): dicendo
  • Fare (to do): facendo
🔊
Lei sta cantando.

How to form the gerund with stare?

We use the gerund with the verb stare to talk about actions in progress either in the present or in the past.

These two tenses are what we call in English present continuous and past continuous.

Italian present continuous

We use the Italian present continuous to describe an action that happens at the time of speaking. It’s formed with the present tense of the verb stare + gerund, like in the examples below:

A: Cosa stai facendo?
B: Sto leggendo.

A: What are you doing?
B: I’m reading.

Italian past continuous

We use the Italian past continuous to talk about an action that happened at the time of speaking. It’s formed with the imperfect tense of the verb stare + gerund:

A: Cosa stavano facendo?
B: Stavano cucinando.

A: What were they doing?
B: They were cooking.

The conjugation of the verb stare

You basically need to remember the conjugation of the verb stare in the present tenseand in the imperfect:

Here’s the conjugation  in the present tense:

Io sto
Tu stai
Lei/ Lui sta
Noi stiamo
Voi state
Loro stanno

Here’s the conjugationin the imperfect tense:

Io stavo
Tu stavi
Lei/ Lui stava
Noi stavamo
Voi stavate
Loro stavano

 

🔊
Sto studiando per l'esame.

Practice with Quizlet

Here's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.

How to form the gerund without stare?

Free Guide
How to Learn Languages Fast

As we mentioned previously, you can also use the gerund without the verb stare even if it’s less common.

We mainly use it to say why, how, and while something happens or happened.

The Italian gerund to talk about why

We could translate the gerund with because or since. It will all depend on the context and what you want to say.

Studiando molto, è riuscita ad entrare in quell’università.

Because she studied a lot, she was able to get into that university.

Non avendo molto tempo, prenderò un taxi per l’aeroporto.

Because I don’t have a lot of time, I will take a taxi to the airport.

Essendo stanchi, abbiamo deciso di tornare subito a casa.

Since we were tired, we decided to return home.

The Italian gerund to talk about how

We can also use the Italian gerund to talk about how something happens or happened.

Mi sento molto meglio correndo ogni giorno.

I feel much better by running every day.

Ho imparato l’italiano vivendo in Italia.

I learned Italian by living in Italy.

Sono dimagrito mangiando solo frutta e verdura.

I lost weight by eating only fruit and vegetables.

The Italian gerund to talk about while

We can also use the Italian gerund to talk about an action that is happening or was happening at the same time as another action.

Cammina, parlando al telefono.

She walks while speaking on the phone.

Cucinando, Luca pensa al suo futuro.

While cooking, Luca thinks about his future.

Tornando a casa, ho incontrato Pietro.

Going back home, I met Pietro.

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions

FAQs

How to form the Italian present gerund?

Basically, the verbs that end in -are in the infinitive end in -ando in the gerund. And the verbs that end in -ere and -ire in the infinitive end in -endo in the gerund.

How to form the gerund with stare?

Using the present continuous (present tense of the verb stare + gerund verb)or the past continuous (imperfect tense of the verb stare + gerund verb).

How to use the gerund with stare?

For talking about actions in progress either in the present or in the past.

How to use the gerund without stare?

To say why, how, and while something happens or happened.

Italian word of the day
capivo
Example
Non capivo più niente dal sonno.
I was so tired that I couldn’t think.
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