The gerund in French

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Usage

In French there are several ways to express the simultaneity of 2 actions (2 actions that take place at the same time). You can use certain words like “en même temps/ at the same time”, “au même moment/ at the same time” or “pendant que/ while” or use the gerund. The gerund can also be used to explain the circumstances in which something happened.

Example:

Je me suis cassé la jambe en faisant du vélo. (I broke my leg while riding my bike.)

How to form the gerund

The formation of the gerund is quite simple and has few exceptions. It is formed as follows: “en” + verb (stem of the form “you” in present tense + ant)

Example:

Present: Vous parlez You speak

Gerund: En parlant Speaking

Irregular verbs

Avoir – en ayant

Example:

En ayant un passeport on peut voyager (With a passport you can travel)

Faire – en faisant

Example: Je me suis coupé en faisant la cuisine. (I cut myself while cooking)

Savoir – en sachant

Example: Je suis venu en sachant que l’examen serait difficile. (I came knowing that the exam would be difficult)

Dire – en disant

Example: Elle est partie en disant qu’elle ne m’aimait plus. (She left saying she didn’t love me anymore.)


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Other Resources: French Language Exercises, Columbia edu


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