How to Form the Italian Gerund

How to Form the Italian Gerund

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I am eating, you are drinking, the soprano is singing. In Italian, the gerund (il gerundio) is equivalent to the "-ing" verb form in English.

Forming the Gerund

To form the simple gerund in Italian, add -ando to the stem of -are verbs and -endo to the stem of -ere and -ire verbs. There is also another form of the gerund, the compound gerund (il gerundio composto). It is formed with the either the gerund form of either avere or essere + past participle of the action verb (see the table below).

The Italian gerund is equal to the English present participle - i.e. the part of the verb ending in -ing, like thinking, running, talking, speaking, drinking, etc.
Also called the adverbial present participle, the gerund ("gerundio") is formed by adding a suffix to the verb.


  • ARE verbs add "-ando".
    Example: parl-ando (speaking)
  • IRE verbs add "-endo".
    Example: dorm-endo (sleeping)
  • ERE verbs add "-endo".
    Example: vend-endo (selling)

Adverbial participles answer questions about the main verb's action.


  • Sbagliando si impara - One learns by making mistakes
    This answers the question, "How does one learn?"

Gerunds are used like English present participles to form progressive tenses with the verb "stare."


  • Sto parlando - I am talking
    Answers the question, "What am I engaged in doing?"
  • Stava dormendo - He was sleeping
    Answers the question, "What was he engaged in doing

When to Use the Gerund

  • To indicate a preceding action that relates to the principal action.
  • If a sentence consists of a main clause as well as a dependent/subordinate clause and both verbs have the same subject, the verb in the dependent clause can typically be replaced with a gerund.
  • Create the gerund by taking off the -are, -ire or -ere ending

Forming Gerunds

Imperfect Stems
cadendo (falling)essendo caduto/a/i/e (having fallen)
leggendo (reading)avendo letto (having read)
mangiando (eating)avendo mangiato (having eaten)

The imperfect stems are used to form the gerunds of verbs such as dire (dicendo), fare (facendo), porre (ponendo), and tradurre (traducendo). The reflexive verbs attach the reflexive pronoun to the end of the word: lavandosi, sedendosi, divertendosi.

Ways to Avoid Using the Gerund

Sentences can be turned around to avoid using the gerund. To do this use on of the following words to start the sentence.

  • Quando (when)
  • Mentre (while)
  • Poiché (since)
  • Siccome (since)
  • Nonostante (notwithstanding)
  • Benché (although/even though)
  • Sebbene (although/even though)
  • Malgrado (in spite of/even though)