Gerund in French
Gerund (French le gérondif) is the verbal form ending by "ant" and preceded by the preposition "en". Its equivalent in English is the structure "while + verb + ing". The gerund is usually used to express the simultaneity, the cause of the action and it is used too in the conditional sentences.
When to use the gerund?
1) The gerund is usually used to express the simultaneous actions. In this case the gerund can be replaced with the sentence started with the preposition "pendant que" (while..)
- En regardant le film Marie avait envie de pleurer (Pendant que Marie regardait le film,elle avait envie de pleurer) = While watching movie Marie wanted to cry.
- En traversant la rue il a vu sa camarade de classe (Pendant qu'il traversait la rue il a vu sa camarade de classe) = While crossing the street he saw his classmate.
The action expressed by the gerund is performed by the same subject as the conjugated verb.
2) The gerund is also used in the conditional sentences
- En nous dépêchant nous arriverons à l'heure (Si nous nous dépêchons, nous arriverons à l'heure) = If we hurry up we will arrive on time.
- En dormant plus il se sentira mieux (S'il dorme plus il se sentira mieux) = If he sleeps more he will feel better.
3) The gerund is used to indicate the cause of the action
- Elle est tombée en courant = She fell because she was running.
- Ils gagnent leur vie en vendant des fleurs = They earn a living by selling flowers.
How to form the gerund?
The gerund in French is formed by the present participle preceded by the preposition "en":
|parlant||en parlant (speaking)|
|mangeant||en mangeant (eating)|
|écrivant||en écrivant (writing)|
|se dépêchant||en se dépêchant (hurrying up)|
Pronominal verbs keep their reflexive form when forming the gerund (se dépêchant = en se dépêchant)
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