Gerund in Portuguese: learn the differences of gerund in Brazil and in Portugal

Learn the differences between gerund in Portuguese

Gerund in Portuguese

Hello and welcome to our Portuguese Basic Tips number 54 (in English) in which we are going to speak about gerund in Portuguese

On today’s podcast, we are going to speak about gerund in Portuguese. I’ll show a few differences between how we speak in Brazil and how people do it in Portugal, for instance. I’ll also cover the topics about simple gerund x compound gerund in Portuguese.

Well, as you must have noticed, we talked a lot about subjunctive in Portuguese, in the last episodes. I think it’s worth to keep talking about verbs in Portuguese, but this time, I promise you, we’ll do it in an easier way to understand it.

Anyway, don’t forget to listen to our previous episodes. They’ll help you with the understanding of this topic today!

Click here to listen to our first episode about Portuguese subjunctive

The gerund in Portuguese indicates an action that is still ongoing, something that takes place at that moment. This has many similarities with the English language itself. The main difference is that in English we normally use the “ing” form and in Portuguese we use words ending with “ando”, “endo” and “indo”.

For example:

  • Eu estou cantando (I’m singing)
  • Eu estou bebendo (I’m drinking)
  • Eu estou sentindo (I’m feeling)

Look, I think I can say that in Brazil, you’ll only find this way to represent gerund. On the other hand, if you are in Portugal, people will tend to say:

  • Eu estou a cantar (I’m singing)
  • Eu estou a beber (I’m drinking)
  • Eu estou a sentir (I’m felling)

I myself don’t know a place in Brazil where people speak like that. But it’s important for you to know that originally our Portuguese brothers use gerund this way.

Portuguese gerunds, which are spoken in Brazil, can be simple or compound.

Let’s take a few examples of simple Portuguese gerund:

Gerund happening before the main action of a sentence:

Andando de mãos dadas, eles atravessaram a rua (Walking hand in hand, they crossed the street)

Gerund happening while the main action takes place:

  • Ela esperou rezando, para que tudo se resolvesse (She waited praying in order to have everything solved)

Gerund happening after the main action of a sentence:

  • Ela terminou a explicação, seguindo para o próximo exemplo.

We could translate that as “she has finished the explanation and passed to the next example”.

Now, let’s speak a little about compound Portuguese gerund

The compound gerund indicates an extended action that was completed before the main sentence. We normally use “gerund” and “particípio” in order to build this kind of sentence.

For instance:

  • Tendo estudado muito, Maria passou na prova

“Tendo” is the verb used as “gerund” and “estudado” is the verb in a “particípio” form.

In this case the meaning of the sentence changes. We could translate that as: since she studied a lot, she passed the exam.

Another example:

Tendo passado no exame, saiu para comemorar

That is: since she passed the exam, she celebrated  / or as she passed the exam, she celebrated

Let’s finish this topic by talking about Portuguese gerund as an adverb

We can use Portuguese gerund with the meaning of adverbs. You’ll understand the meaning of the sentences by the context they are used.

For instance:

Saindo de casa, vi que você chegava

In this case, you should understand the word “saindo” as “enquanto saía” or “quando saía”. This is more or less alike: “when I was leaving home, I see you arrived” / or “while I was leaving home, I see you arrived”.

We also use Portuguese gerund meaning “if” or “se”.

For instance:

  • Chovendo, não iremos à praia (If it rains, we won’t go to the beach).
  • Gritando, ninguém liga para você (If you scream, nobody will care of you).

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Visit this website (Portuguese only) containing information about “gerundismo”

See you next time.


Marcos Sales

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