Forming and Using Gerunds


Doug's Adventures In French

How do I say: “while running I fell”? You do this by using the gerund – le gérondif – of the verb “to run”.

  • En courant je suis tombé. While running, I fell
  • Je suis tombé en courant. I fell while running.

The gerund is formed by taking the present participle and prefacing it with the preposition “en” – en courant in this example. The gerund modifies (or is related to) the main verb in a sentence and is used in several ways:

To express something that is simultaneous with the main verb, or to explain when something happened:

  • Je suis tombé en courant. I fell while running.
  • J’écoute de la musique en lisant. I listen to music while reading.

To explain why or how something occurred:

  • Elle devenait sage en écoutant. She became wise by listening.

Remember that the subject of the gerund is the same…

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