Forming irregular gerunds (-ing form)

In Spanish the gerund (the -ing verb form in English) is formed by taking the stem of the verb (e.g hablar → habl-) and adding one of these endings:

-ando (for -ar verbs) 

-iendo (for -er/-ir verbs)

However there are some verbs that have irregular gerunds:

1. Verbs ending in -er and -ir with a vowel before the ending, i.e. -aer, -uir, -eer, oir

Creer. CreyendoTo think/believe. Thinking/Believing

Leer. LeyendoTo read. Reading

Oir. Oyendo.To listen. Listening.

Traer. Trayendo.To bring. Bringing.

Caer. Cayendo.To fall. Falling.

Huir. Huyendo.To escape. Escaping.

Notice how the ending is -yendo, not -iendo.

Another special case with a -yendo ending is verb ir (to go)

Ir → yendo

To go → going

2.  Most verbs with an e > i or e > ie stem change in El Presente swap the -e in the infinitive for an -i, however the ending remain regular:

Mentir. Mintiendo.To lie. Lying.

Preferir. Prefiriendo.To prefer. Preferring.

Vestir. Vistiendo.To get dressed. Getting dressed.

Seguir. Siguiendo.To continue. Continuing.

3. Some verbs with an o > ue stem change in El Presente swap the -o of the infinitive for an -u, however the ending remain regular:

Morir. Muriendo.To die. Dying.

Dormir. Durmiendo.To sleep. Sleeping.

Poder. Pudiendo.To be able to. Being able to.

moriendo, dormiendo and podiendo are incorrect!

4. -ir verbs that undergo a vowel change (e > i) and have an -e immediately before the -ir lose the -e from the stem.

Freir. Friendo.To fry. Frying.

Reir. Riendo.To laugh. Laughing.

freiendo and reiendo are incorrect!

-ar verbs

Note that -ar verbs do not have irregular gerunds, even though some of them have irregularities in the present or other tenses. For example:

Contar (to count/tell)

  • Yo cuento (I count/I tell) 
  • Contando (counting/telling) = regular gerund

or

Empezar (to start)

  • Yo empiezo (I start)
  • Empezando (starting) = regular gerund

 

See also Forming regular gerunds (-ing form) .

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Examples and resources

Poder. Pudiendo.To be able to. Being able to.
Mentir. Mintiendo.To lie. Lying.
Traer. Trayendo.To bring. Bringing.
Dormir. Durmiendo.To sleep. Sleeping.
Oir. Oyendo.To listen. Listening.
Seguir. Siguiendo.To continue. Continuing.
Morir. Muriendo.To die. Dying.
Creer. CreyendoTo think/believe. Thinking/Believing
Reir. Riendo.To laugh. Laughing.
Vestir. Vistiendo.To get dressed. Getting dressed.
Huir. Huyendo.To escape. Escaping.
Leer. LeyendoTo read. Reading
Freir. Friendo.To fry. Frying.
Preferir. Prefiriendo.To prefer. Preferring.
Caer. Cayendo.To fall. Falling.
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