Gerund – gérondif


Let's Define It!

What's the *gerund*?

In the French language, the present participle (-ING form in English) of a verb (le participe présent) can be preceded by the preposition en  to form the gerund (le gérondif).

Simply put, the gerund in French is the association of the preposition en + present participle.

The gerund is used in French to fulfill two main functions:

  1. to express two simultaneous actions. --> J'étudie en écoutant de la musique (I am studying while listening to music).
  2. to express the means by which an action gets achieved.  --> Vous réussirez à cet examen en travaillant dur. (You will pass this exam by working hard). 

These three verbs have an irregular gerund:  savoir -- en sachant (knowing), avoir --> en ayant (having), être --> en étant (being).


Let's Pronounce It!

What does it sound like in French?


Let's Have an Example or Two!

Can a little reinforcement do the trick?

Here are four French sentences including the gerund:

Je regarde un film en vous attendant. (I'm watching a movie while waiting for you)

Il a battu le record en s'entrainant beaucoup avant la compétition. (He beat the record by training a lot before the competition)

Elle fait la lessive en parlant à son amie au téléphone. (She is doing the laundry while talking with her friend on the phone)

Elle a a gagné sa fortune en créant sa propre compagnie. (She gained her fortune by building her own company)




Let's Take a Quiz!

What did you learn?