13.2 formation of the gerundio 1

The gerundio, which correponds to the present participle in English and NOT to the gerund, is formed by omitting the endings of the infinitive and adding to what remains, the radical, the ending -ando (if the verbs end on -ar) or -endo (if the verbs end on -er or -ir).

formation of the gerundio
verbs on -ar verbs on -er verbs on -ir
infinitive radical ending
infinitive radical ending
infinitive radical ending
  comprare
to buy
compr ando
vedere
to see
ved endo
finire
to finish
fin endo
  riparare
to repare
ripar
vendere
to sell
vend
aprire
to open
apr
  chiamare
to call
chiam
sapere
to know
sap
apparire
to appear
appar
  sopportare
to support
sopport
volere
to want
vol
morire
to die
mor
  parlare
to talk
parl
scrivere
to write
scriv
offrire
to offer
offr
  tentare
to try
tent
vivere
to read
viv
salire
to get in
sal
  giocare
to play
gioc
muovere
to move *
mov
partire
to leave
part
  inviare
to send
invi
cuocere
to cook *
coc
salire
to get in
sal
  pigliare
to catch
pigli
scuotere
to shake *
scot
sentire
to feel
sent

* the diphtong (two vowels in one syllable) becomes o.

The numerous verbs on -rre (tradurre, condurre, produrre, etc.) are irregular.

verbs on -urre
Infinitive translation radical ending  
  tradurre to translate tradu cendo
  condurre to steer condu
  produrre to produce produ
  dire to say di
  fare to make fa

Beside the possibility to substitute a subordinate clause, the present participle can be used as well as a modicative adverbial adjunct. The Italian gerund can be as well a modicative adverbial adjunct.

examples
  a) Sorridendo mi guardava.
  Laughing she looked at me.
  b) Piangendo mi raccontò tutta la storia.
  Crying she told mit the whole story.
  c) Gridando entrò nella stanza.
  Crying she entered the door.
  d) Ridendo mi disse che non mi amava più.
  Laughing she told me that she doesn' t love me any more.
  e) Scusandosi va via.
  Apoligizing himself he went away.
  f) Mi guarderà negli occhi chiedendo un'altra volta la stessa sciocchezza.
  He will look me in the eyes asking me once again the same sillyness.

The gerundio presente, the type of gerundio we have seen in the table above, describes the event / action of the gerund as something happening at the same time as the action / event described by the finite verb (the verb of the main sentence). If the verb stands in a tense of the past (a / b / c / d) than the gerundio is in the past as well. If the verb of the main sentence is in a tense of the present, the gerundio is anchored in the present as well and if the finite verb is in the future, the gerundio is in the future as well.

If we look at the kind of subordinate clause which can be substituted by a present participle / gerundio it is obvious that there must be as well a possibility to describe the events / actions of the gerund as something having happened before the events / actions described by the main verb. If we look at the examples below we see that very often there is a need to express anteriority.

if clause
anteriority: If he had saved money, he could by a car now.
=> Having spared money, he could buy a car now.
  simultanity:

If he spares money, he can buy a car.
=> Saving money, he can buy a car. .

  concessive clause
  anteriority: Although he had earned a lot of money, he is not happy.
=> Having earned a lot of money, he is not happy.
  simultanity: Although he earns a lot of money, he is not happy.
=> Earning a lot of money, he is not happy.
  causal clause
  simultanity: Because he is lazy, he doesn' t pass the exam.
=> Being lazy he doesn't pass the exam.
  anteriority: Because he was lazy, he doesn' t pass the exam.
=> Having been lazy, he doesn' t pass the exam.

As it is shown by this examples there is a need for a present participle / gerundio able to express anteriority. The formation is very simple, it works as in English. We use the present participle / gerundio of the auxiliary verb (having / avendo) and we add the past participle.

verbs conjugated with avere
gerundio of avere   + participio passato
avendo
comprato
(bought)

mangiato (eaten)
saputo (known)
preso (taken)
messo (put)
detto (said)
chiesto (asked)

It works the same way with the verbs conjugated with essere: essendo andato <=> having gone.





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