Socail icons

google-plus.png    facebook.png        twitter.png 

The Gerund Tense

Learn Italian: The Gerund Tense - Il Gerundio
Learn Italian: The Gerund Tense - Il Gerundio

Il Gerundio

Il Gerundio nella lingua italiana esprime l'idea del verbo in funzione di complemento (di tempo, di modo, di mezzo, di causa ecc); es. Lavorando ( = col lavoro) mi guadagno la vita; Avendo sbagliato ( = A causa dello sbaglio) sono stati puniti. Il gerundio ha solo 2 tempi: presente e passato. Il presente ha il valore di ogni altro presente; la parte che cambia è la parte finale che si aggiunge alla radice del verbo: -ando per i verbi in -are; -endo per i verbi in -ere/-ire/- isc. Il gerundio passao è composto dall'ausiliare di avere/essere al presente del gerundio + participio passato del verbo. Quindi il gerundio si forma dalla radice del presente indicativo
+
le desinenze -ando, -endo, a seconda dei casi.

Il gerundio si usa molto spesso nelle frasi secondarie:

Es: Abbiamo incontrato Paolo ritornando a casa.

 

The Gerund Tense

The Italian gerund tense is not used the same as English "-ing" words. Italians use the infinitive in many cases where we would use a gerund. I can think of no cases where an Italian gerund would be used the same as an English gerund (i.e. as a noun).

In English, a gerund is a present participle (-ing word, like writing, eating, talking) that is used as a noun, either on its own or in a noun phrase -- for example:

Writing is her favorite thing to do . (It: Scrivere è il suo passatempo preferito). 

In the sentence above, "writing" is a present participle that is being used as a noun and this is the gerund in English; in Italian we use "scrivere" which is the infinitive, as "to write".

 

In Italian it's different, the gerund form of the verb is never used in this way.

The main rule  is that the gerund only refers to the subject and it's not used with mentre, quando etc. Their meaning is already expressed in the gerund.
e.g. Mangiando la pasta mi sono accorta che era cruda (while I was eating the pasta I realized it was not cooked)
but not: Mentre mangiando la pasta.............

 

By definition, an English gerund is used as a noun. Specifically, it is a "verbal". A "verbal" originates from a verb but function as other parts of speech. The gerund "verbal" functions as a noun and has two tenses:


present: eating, speaking
perfect: having eaten, having spoken


e.g. Eating all those ice-cream gave Maria a stomachache. = mangiare tutto quel gelato ha fatto venire a Maria il mal di pancia.
e.g. Having spoken for a long time, the voice disappeared. = avendo parlato a lungo, la voce scomparì.

 

Gerund is the tense which expresses an action in progress (eating, seeing, driving, etc). Italian gerund isn't a difficult tense, because you have only to add ENDO - ANDO ( + ING in English): it depends by the conjunction (to verbs ending in -ARE at their infinitive form, you add -ando; to verbs ending in -ERE or -IRE in their infinitive, you add -endo).

 

Examples:

1 conj. mangiare -  to eat       -  mangiando - eating

2 conj. credere    -  to believe - credendo - believing

 

In this case, to form a continuous action you need to add the verb "stare" and not "essere".

Es. Sto pensando - sto credendo (I am thinking - I believe)

Che cosa stavi pensando = What are you thinking?

Che cosa stai facendo? = What are you doing?

 

Gerundio: Gerundio Composto

Compound gerund (il gerundio composto) : the compound gerund is formed with the gerund form of either avere or essere + past participle of the action verb .

 

Mangiando           avendo mangiato

Credendo             avendo creduto

Accusare              essendo accusato

 

Uses of the Gerund in Italian

Apart from the progressive form (sto leggendo, etc.), the Gerund is used in many senses in Italian.

 

Expressing contemporaneity:
Andando a scuola, ho incontrato mio zio.
As I was going to school I met my uncle.

 

Causation:
Studiando così, passerai l'esame.
Because you're studying a lot, you'll pass the exam.

 

Conditionality:
Facendo così arriverai tardi.
If you do it that way you'll arrive late.

 

Hypothesis:
Sbagliando, si impara

With mistakes, you learn. 

 

The general rule is that the subject performing the action that is described in the gerund must be the same as that of the main clause, but there are several exceptions:

Es: Essendo partiti gli amici, io potei riposarmi
Since the friends were gone, I was able to rest

 

Andando verso C.so Italia, la chiesa è a destra
If you go towards C.so Italia, the church is to the right

 

One of the possible uses of gerund in English is representing the Italian "participio presente". In Italian we say "il presidente uscente", in English "the retiring president" and Gerund used also as a 'verbal noun' is an English curiosity. In Englis

h: "No smoking" (gerund), in Italian: "Vietato fumare" (infinitive).

 

In Italian, Gerund can only take place in a subordinate clause, usually at its very beginning, and can usually be substituted by "mentre, quando + indicative" or (if it is a past gerund) "dopo + past infinitive" or "poiché, perché + indicative" (note that "poiché" does not mean "after" but "because").

 

Exercise: Choose the Correct Tense Using the Gerund

  • 1) Tu stai .........la macchina.

° laverò

° lavavo

° lavando

  • 2) Maria si sta........a guardare quel film.

° divertiva

° divertendo

° divertirebbe

  • 3) La mamma stava......il dolce, quando suonò il telefono.

° faceva

° farà

° facendo

  • 4) Gli amici stanno.......al bar.

° parlare

° parlando

° parlavano

  • 5) Evviva, sto......per i Carabi.

° partirò

° partire

° partendo

 

(you can find the answers on "Dare" in Italian Grammar)

 

Answers to exercise on "Dare" in Italian Grammar:
1.      Si vanta
2.      Scoraggiare
3.      Somministrato
4.      Stordisce

 

By Elisa Bressan

 

Channel: 
What do you think ?