Weilà weilà raga! How's it going guys? I hope this post finds you well! This post correlates with the 19th Episode of Learn Italian (Grammar Basics 5) where we cover the Italian Gerundio. This is the Italian equivalent to English verbs that end in -ING.
This is a personal favorite area of Italian. I like to use it a lot, however, it isn't the most popular verb form in Italian. It is certainly used and is common, but you will find that Italians do use the Present tense to talk both about things they do and are doing. There are even times when Italians use the Present tense to talk about the future. But that's a different post ;)
Here's how you form the Gerundio in Italian: Verb Stare in Present tense + main verb with -ANDO or -ENDO suffix (verb ending).
So let's first take a look at the verb Stare (to be) conjugated in the Present tense.
Stare - to be (in the Present tense)
io sto - I am
tu stai - you are
lui/lei sta* - he/she is
noi stiamo - we are
voi state - you guys/all are
loro stanno* - they are
*Keep in mind that in Italian both people and objects have genders. So you'll find both the third person singular and third person plural (he/she & they pronouns) conjugations are used to refer to both people and objects.
As I've also mentioned in previous posts and Grammar Basics videos, oftentimes you'll find Italians tend to conjugate verbs using egli & ella in the place of lui & lei (sometimes they'll just use egli) and essi in the place of loro. Keep in mind that these are just traditional forms of the pronouns. They are not used in spoken or informally written Italian.
One last thing, then I promise we'll move on, as you've probably noticed, I said that Stare means To Be in English. But what about the verb Essere? Here's the thing with many Romance Languages, they tend to have 2 verbs for To Be. Generally speaking, Stare is used in Italian for conditions that are current and likely to change, hence why we use it with the Gerundio - it's for things currently taking place that are not permanent. Conversely, Essere is used to permanent things, conditions that are not likely to change. Hence why we use it for the Passato Prossimo (Grammar Basics 2), which is the tense used for the past, when actions started and ended in the past.
Okay, now we can finally move on! So now that we know how to use Stare in the present tense, we can now see how to actually say something in the Gerundio! It's very simple. You're going to love it.
For all -ARE verbs, remove the -ARE and put in its place -ANDO.
For all -ERE and -IRE verbs, remove the -ERE or -IRE and put in their place -ENDO.
Let's take a look at the verb Parlare (to talk) in the Gerundio. Remember we'll be conjugating our helping/auxiliary verb Stare in the Present tense and the verb Parlare, because it ends in -ARE will have the new ending -ANDO.
Parlare - to talk
io sto parlando - I am talking
tu stai parlando - you are talking
lui/lei sta parlando - he/she is talking
noi stiamo parlando - we are talking
voi state parlando - you all are talking
loro stanno parlando - they are talking
What I love about Grammar Basics 5 is that we start to see examples included in the videos. For the other Grammar Basics videos, refer to their corresponding blog posts to see examples after each verb conjugation.
Here's the example I gave in the video:
Io sto parlando al telefono = I am talking on the phone
(Check out my video on Prepositions and Prepositional Articles to learn more about that "al" that's in the example above.)
Remember that Italian, like Spanish but unlike French, does not require the use of pronouns. Think of it this way, because every conjugation is unique, the pronoun or simply the subject is implied.
Now let's move onto an -ERE verb and an -IRE verb, we're going to look at them at the same time because in the Gerundio they're conjugated the same way.
Chiedere - to ask
io sto chiedendo - I am asking
tu stai chiedendo - you are asking
lui/lei sta chiedendo - he/she is asking
noi stiamo chiedendo - we are asking
voi state chiedendo - you all are asking
loro stanno chiedendo - they are asking
Stanno chiedendo alla professoressa = They are asking the professor
Pulire - to clean
io sto pulendo - I am cleaning
tu stai pulendo - you are cleaning
lui/lei sta pulendo - he/she is cleaning
noi stiamo pulendo - we are cleaning
voi state pulendo - you all are cleaning
loro stanno pulendo - they are cleaning
Tu stai pulendo la tua camera da letto = You are cleaning your bedroom
Just to note - in the Present tense, Pulire is an -ISC verb. That means when it get's conjugated alone it looks like this:
Pulire - to clean (in the Present tense)
io pulisco - I clean
tu pulisci - you clean
lui/lei pulisci - he/she cleans
noi puliamo - we clean
voi pulite - you all clean
loro puliscono - they clean
So despite the fact that Pulire is indeed an -IRE verb, it also falls into the category of -ISC verbs. There aren't that many in Italian, but they do pop up on occasion and I just wanted to make you aware of them should you ever want to use Pulire in the Present tense or should you come across it.
Finally, in the video we go over the irregular verb, Fare (to do/make). I'd like to first show it to you in the Present tense and then I'll show you the verb conjugated in the Gerundio.
Fare - to do/make (in the Present tense)
io faccio - I do/make
tu fai - you do/make
lui/lei fa - he/she does/makes
noi facciamo - we do/make
voi fate - you all do/make
loro fanno - they do/make
Now, the reason why Fare is irregular is because it follows a slightly different pattern to getting conjugated than regular -ARE verbs. Fare comes from the Latin verb Facere, also meaning to do/make, so if that helps to shed some light as to why the letter C makes an appearance in our conjugations, there you go :)
Now let's look at Fare in the Gerundio.
Fare - to do/make (in the Gerundio)
io sto facendo - I am doing/making
tu stai facendo - you are doing/making
lui/lei sta facendo - he/she is doing/making
noi stiamo facendo - we are doing/making
voi state facendo - you all are doing/making
loro stanno facendo - they are doing/making
Here's one of the reasons why I love the Gerundio so much, look how easy our conjugation of a generally highly irregular verb, Fare? It's always Facendo in the Gerundio.
Here's the example I gave in the video for Fare in the Gerundio:
Io sto facendo una foto = I am taking a photo
Keep in mind that foto is short for fotografia (photograph), hence why we said "una photo". Even if a word is shortened, the gender remains the same.
In Italian, you can also use the verb scattare, which can be used to say to snap or shoot a photo. It's a regular -ARE verb.
So that is everything for my explanation on the Italian Gerundio! As always, I hope you found we covered this material in a clean and easy-to-understand way. As with anything new, it can take time to get used to. Remember, you're on a language learning diet. The Gerundio is a new food that you're bringing on in. So give it time to get used to. Soon enough you'll come to love it just as much as I do :)
Here's the video that correlates with this post:
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