Verbs That Can Be Followed by the Gerund

Use of Gerund Often Indicates Continuing Action

sleeping in the park
Siguió durmiendo. (He kept on sleeping.). Photo by Diógenes; licensed via Creative Commons.

The Spanish gerund — the verb form ending in -ando or -iendo — is used frequently with forms of estar to form the progressive tenses. However, it can also be used with other verbs, sometimes with meanings that are similar to the progressive tenses. Here are some of the most common verbs that can be followed by the gerund:

Seguir or continuar + gerund: These verbs typically mean "to keep on" or "to continue." With this usage, the two verbs are generally interchangeable with little difference in meaning.

  • Sony sigue hablando mal del plasma, mientras sigue lanzando televisores LCD. Sony keeps on speaking poorly of plasma while it keeps on releasing LCD televisions.
  • Venezuela continuará comprando cemento cubano. Venezuela will keep on buying Cuban cement.
  • Muchas veces seguimos durmiendo más de lo que deberíamos. Many times we continue sleeping longer than we should.

Andar + gerund: Although standing alone andar typically means "to walk," when followed by a gerund it means roughly the same as "to go around" doing something in a rather pointless or unproductive fashion. If you're translating to English, the translation can vary considerably with context. Andar generally has a negative connotation when used this way.

  • Descubrí el foro porque andaba navegando en Internet. I discovered the forum because I was browsing around the Internet.
  • Katy anda comiendo todo el dia. Katy goes around eating all day.
  • Tú sabes que todos andamos buscando una vida que satisfaga. You know that all of us spend our time looking for a satisfying life.

Ir + gerund: Sometimes, ir is used in the same way as andar, above. But it usually doesn't have the negative connotation. In fact, it usually suggests that the action in progress is proceeding gradually or steadily. Again, translations of ir followed by the Spanish gerund can vary with the context.

  • Vamos estudiando mejor la situación real del pueblo. We are coming to study better the real situation of the people.
  • Fueron comprando trozo a trozo el terreno durante un proceso de unos quince años más o menos. They went about buying the land one piece at a time during a process that lasted 15 years more or less.
  • Los estudiantes van ganando influencia. The students are steadily gaining influence.

Venir + gerund: This construction often refers to something that has been occurring for a long time and is still continuing. It sometimes conveys frustration that the action isn't complete. As in the first two examples below, it is often used to indicate how long something has been occurring.

  • En los últimos años, se viene hablando de liderazgo. In recent years, much has been spoken about leadership.
  • Hace seis meses que viene probando suerte como modelo en París. For the past six months she has been trying her luck as a model in Paris.
  • Vienen diciendome que no soy normal. They have been telling me I'm not normal.