Today we will go in depth in the study of Spanish verbs by learning how to use the periphrasis Andar + gerund. If your goal this summer is to perfect your Spanish in order to speak like a native, take a look at this blog! Our Spanish school, El Rincón del Tándem, will help you achieve your goal with less effort😊

Teachers at El Rincón del Tándem make Spanish lessons interactive and enjoyable. Besides teaching grammar, they normally use a practical approach to help our students to speak Spanish since the first day.

Expressions, idioms and periphrases also are useful resources to make your Spanish more authentic.

The Spanish structure andar + gerund is mainly used in spoken Spanish and informal speech.
It mainly means “to go around doing something” and describes an ongoing action. For this reason, andar + gerund is quite similar to estar + gerund; that is the structure of the Spanish present and past continuous.

Despite the similarity, andar + gerundio differs from estar + gerund because it implies repetition or vagueness of the activity. Also, this construction tends to refers to situation or activities that occurs intermittently, with interruptions.


  • Lucas anda comprando cosas inútiles y por eso no hay espacio en su habitación = Lucas is going around buying useless things therefore there is no more space in his room
  • María anda buscando un local para abrir un restaurante = Maria is on the lookout for a place to open a restaurant
  • Paloma anda pidiendo a todo el mundo un cigarillo = Paloma is going around asking everybody for a cigarette

On grammar level, this verbal periphrasis can be only used with verbs that indicate action.
That means that to properly use this structure we have to be sure that the subject is also the active agent of the action, that he/she is doing the activity voluntarily or with a certain intention.

Therefore, we cannot use andar + gerundio with state verbs or verbs of transformation. In all these cases, we should use the Spanish verbs IR or ESTAR + gerund.

Let’s see the examples below:

  • Su herida iba sanándose poco a poco = His wound was gradually healing
  • El perro estaba engordando mucho = The dog was getting very fat

In both examples, the use of andar (andaba) would be wrong.

Furthermore, andar + gerund is normally used to express uncomplete repetitive actions. In other words, it indicates repetitive actions with no endpoint. Unlike the periphrasis IR + gerund, it does not imply a progressive development or a gradual accomplishment of a goal.

Let’s see the difference in meaning between the two periphrases:

  • Pablo anda escribiendo una obra de teatro = Pablo is writing a theatre play on and off
    (He is doing it intermittently, probably without achieving results)
  • Pablo va escribiendo una obra de teatro = Pablo is writing a theatre play
    (He is developing the action, gradually achieving his purpose).

We hope this short post on Andar + gerund help you master this structure and use it frequently in your conversations with Spanish speakers.

As usual, we invite all our students to continue enjoying and making the most of their Spanish lessons.
Finally, if you want to study Spanish in Valencia, El Rincón del Tándem is happy to provide you with interactive Spanish lessons in a cosy and friendly space 😊

¡Hasta pronto!