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Hey Duo, are you sure these are gerunds?

I'm no linguist, just very much interested in languages, but redoing some "Gerunds" in Spanish today I noticed something.

The test was full of ordinary sentences like "estamos leyendo un libro", "que estas pagando", etc. I'm confused: I had read that gerunds were where the participle part of a verb - what we have here in these sentences - functions as a noun, as in "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3". These examples just look like present participles to me. There were none that - by the 'noun' definition - were gerunds. What am I missing?

EDIT: Ok, thanks to the patient explanation by the commenters here, I think I understand now. In English, "gerunds" are a verb form acting as a noun, but in Spanish that's not the case. So if you want to say "Seeing is believing" (English gerund form) in Spanish you use the infinitive form: "Ver es creer". If you say I am reading, you say "estoy leyendo" which is a gerundio in Spanish but is not an English gerund, which confused me.

I still think though that since this is English -> Spanish, the use of the term "gerunds" is misleading, because what you get here are gerundios, which are quite different from English gerunds. Oh well, depends on your perspective. They could at least have some explanation on the main page, like they do with plenty of other grammar points.

tl;dr They are Spanish gerundios alright, but not in fact English gerunds. The two are not the same, despite the similar word. http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/100043/spanish-gerund-form

October 23, 2014



I don't really understand what you say about the words functioning as nouns. The gerund is a verb conjugation demonstrating an action; but is not defined neither by time , mode, number or person. Words that end in -ando / -endo / -iendo are gerunds.


Yeah, but it's their part of speech I'm interested in. It might end in "ing" in English, or "ando", for example, in Spanish, but is it a noun or a verb? The definition of a gerund seems to be a verb part being used as a noun, which they aren't in the "Gerunds" section in Spanish.

  • Ella está comiendo.
  • Ella está pagando.
  • Ellos están gritando.

The gerund is the action = verb. (comer, pagar, gritar)


Those aren't gerunds, just participles, that's what I'm saying. Look it up - it's only a gerund when that "ing" part of the verb is used as a noun.


Please read this link. In English participles and gerunds might get mixed up, but not in Spanish. Gerundios are one thing and participios another. I can't speak much for English since I'm not a native speaker, but those are Spanish gerunds, hence the unit is named 'Gerunds'.



Ok, thanks, that makes sense. Btw, best site I've found so far has been http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/100043/spanish-gerund-form. It's confusing that the function of the gerund/gerundio differs from English to Spanish. Oh well, schooled!


The participle in Spanish are words that end in -ado / -ido (to name something). For example "The Calling of Thorns" (whatever that is) would be "El llamado de las espinas". I'm not sure if that answers your question.


That last example you give is what I would expect to see in the section called "Gerunds", because that's what it means in English. Instead they just have examples of the present participle, such as "estoy pagando...". That's why I think it's wrong to call them gerunds.


I could be wrong:)....but I think its: Él llamar de las espinas. You need the infinitive not the Spanish gerund. It's the ''-ing'' that confuses people, including me at times.


Both could be used. Depending on what type of title you want. "el llamar" and "el llamado" aren't exactly the same in Spanish despite the fact that they seem to be in English. By the way, that's not a gerund. The gerund would be "llamando" not "llamado".


Raftus, see this: http://www.spanishlanguageguide.com/grammar/gerund.asp . The first paragraph should answer your question.


You are right. Gerunds in English are the present participle used as noun. Gerunds do not exist in Spanish and the infinitive must be used instead. Gerundios in Spanish are NOT gerunds but present participles used as an ADVERB. Duo doesn't explain it and they leave it for you to figure it out and the Gerund is an English term.


Duo should definitely have some sort of an explanation here alright - I found the whole thing really confusing till I worked it out.


There's already enough confusion in the English-speaking world about what a gerund is. I agree they should add a little introductory note, like they do in other lessons, explaining that "gerund" in Spanish is the term for what we call the Present Progressive or a Present Participle in English. But who even makes those decisions? Does anybody read this? I see it's been a year since this thread but the same problem exists today.


The Spanish infinitive, and not the el gerundio, is used in sentences as a noun. Ex: Bailar es divertido. (Dancing is fun.). In English the English gerund is used (Dancing is fun.). The literal translation into the -ando / -iendo Spanish forms is not possible. The Spanish present participle (gerundo) is generally equivalent to the English progressive tenses (gerund) but there are a few differences in usage as noted above. I don't profess to completely understand the differences in usage between the Spanish gerund and the English gerund but I do know that they are not exactly the same. A good grammar book should be able to explain it far better than me!


Hello. (First of all, excuse me for my english). This matter confused me too. All the verbs have two forms: the inflected and the non-inflected (is this the right term in english?). The first one includes the active voice, the passive voice etc with their moods Indicative, Imperative, Subjunctive and their tenses. The second forms of the verbs (the "non-inflected") include the infinitive (such as bailar, comer, vivir), the gerund (in Greece we do not have this term at all - instead of it we use the term "participle of Present") (such as bailando, comiendo, viviendo) and the past participle (such as comprado, vendido, vivido). Now, the last one is used either to shape a tense (for example "mi amigo ha vendido su coche") or to determine a noun as an adjective would do "bailar es divertido" (as it was said above) or "este coche es vendido" (this last one is passive voice). On the other hand, the gerund in spanish is used for shaping the progressive tenses ("ahora estoy bailando") or for indicating manner such as "me gusta cocinar bailando" :-) . We also use the gerund in some forms of conditional speech, for example "Sabiendo escuchar, no tendrás problemas" (=learning to listen/if you learn to listen) or "Siendo cortés, no tendrás problemas" (=being kind, you won't have problems) (this is of manner too). Anyway, I hope that I helped even a little to this complicated but wonderful matter of (every) language.


The specific thing I'm talking about is when the "ing", part of the verb is used as a noun, nothing more than this. In English it's not a gerund when it's used simply like "I am walking". It IS when used as a noun. Even though Duo calls them gerunds in the Spanish course (and probably others, I haven't checked), they don't seem to be gerunds, hence my confusion.


Duo calls them gerunds because that's what they're called. Every Spanish language learning website I've seen calls them that as well. Spanish gerunds and English gerunds are not the same.


Way too many comments on this. Please THINK a little bit. The titles of the chapters are in English. The content of the chapter called "Gerund" is what is called "Present Participle" in English. Thus, "Gerund" as a title is misleading, Duolingo should change it to "Present Participle".

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