The Gerund as Adverb  

Gerund - Present Participle

1. The Spanish GERUND has two basic functions:

    a. Serve as the auxiliary to form progressive tenses.

    b. Serve as an adverb or foundation for an adverbial phrase.

The link between the 2 functions is the DURATIVE, IMPERFECTIVE nature of the gerund.
It represents una “acción en curso”.

2. Since the GERUND as modifier is essentially adverbial, it should be possible to replace the
gerund phrase with an adverb or adverbial clause.

    Realizing his infidelity, she abandoned him.

    Dándose cuenta de su infidelidad, lo abandonó.
    Cuando se dio cuenta de su infidelidad, ….

    Murió predicando al pueblo.
    Murió mientras predicaba al pueblo.

3. As an adverbial modifier, the GERUND does not totally lose its verbal properties. Has a
subject and can take objects. Pronoun objects are appended to the GERUND.

  • Viéndolo, se asustó.

4. GERUNDS may be simple or compound.

  • Viendo al bandido, el turista se asustó.
  • Habiendo escuchado mi explicación, decidió ayudarme.
  • Habiéndola escuchado, decidió ayudarme.

5. Common misuse of GERUND is ambiguous modification.

6. The GERUND is not coded for tense or mood. It picks up its tense and mood from
context and from that of the verb it modifies.

  • Viendo el fantasma, se asustará.
  • Cuando vea el fantasma, se asustará.
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