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Gerund in Spanish

This is a tough one in Spanish. Most of the times all the mistakes come from transferring the English language into the Spanish one. With this post I am going to try to give a few, simple and direct tips to avoid the incorrect use of this verb form in Spanish for beginners.
First thing we do in my class is using the visual provided here to deduce the rule for gerund in Spanish. Putting this responsibility upon students shoulders is a great strategy to develop autonomy, critical thinking, logical thinking skills. They get used to be detectives in my class. Actually they wear so many different hats in my class, but isn't it real life like that?

One big idea when using gerund in Spanish:


 The action expressed by the gerund MUST happen before or at the same time as the action of the main verb, NEVER later


 Correct:
  Incorrect:

Paco aprende español cantando canciones.

Preguntó al profesor ayudándose de las ayudas visuales.

Thinking activity: 
Looking at the first example, when is the action happening? is it previous, simultaneous or later? 
In the second example, previous, simultaneous or later?


The following sequences can help us to establish and settle authentic pieces of language highlighting the concept of gerund. Pay attention to how two first sentences get combined into the third one: 

 Sequences of gerund:
  1. Llegó muy tarde a clase de español.
  2. Pidió permiso para entrar.
  3. Llegó muy tarde a clase de español pidiendo permiso para entrar.
  1. Observó atentamente la imagen.
  2. Preguntó una duda.
  3. Observó atentamente la imagen preguntando una duda.
  1. Quiso aprender español después de la escuela.
  2. Preguntó al profesor que podía hacer.
  3. Quiso aprender español después de la escuela preguntando al profesor que podía hacer.

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Some of the ideas from this post have been borrowed from Proyecto Aula 


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Benjamin Franklin

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