In Spanish, verb periphrases with the gerund are used to express the continuity of an action. Do you want to learn how to use them correctly? If so, our Spanish school El Rincón del Tándem provides you with a short explanation here below 😉

Today we talk about verb periphrases with the gerund. A verb structure that will help you describe an ongoing action, in the present, past or future.

First of all, we remind you that a verb periphrasis is a verb structure composed of two verbs. The first verb is conjugated, while the second one always uses the impersonal form; i.e. infinitive, past participle or gerund.
In some cases, the two verbs are connected by a preposition that works as a nexus, like in some verbal periphrases with infinitive form.

Today we are going to analyse the verbal periphrasis with the gerund. In this case, these verb combinations are mainly use to express continuity of the action, and most of the auxiliary verbs (i.e. the conjugated verbs) are verbs of movement.

So, let’s go there!


This periphrasis refers to an ongoing action. Furthermore, it also refers to a progressive, gradual and incremental process.
Therefore, this periphrasis can be followed or preceded by time phrases, like poco a poco (little by little), progresivamente (gradually), gradualmente (gradaually), con el tiempo (over time), etc.


Poco a poco iba recordando los momentos felices
Little by little she had been remembering all the happy moments

Ve preparando tu mochila que ya es tarde
Start packing your things because it is late

La gata se iba acercando gradualmente al pájaro
The cat was getting closer to the bird gradually


In this case, we express an ongoing action or condition. The action may be taking place in the present, future or past.


Estaba leyendo un libro cuando me llamaste (past )
I was reading a book when you called me

Cuando tú empieces tus estudios en la universidad yo ya estaré trabajando (future)
When you enter the university, I will be working

Estoy harta de que siempre estés quejándote (present)
I am tired of you always complaining


Also this periphrasis refers to an ongoing process, like in ESTAR + gerund. However, we also use ANDAR +gerund to put an emphasis on the action expressed by the verb.

When using the verb DECIR (to say), the periphrasis takes on the meaning of “being rumoured”.


Tu tío anda peleándose con todo el mundo
Your uncle is fighting with everyone

Andan diciendo por ahí que te vas de fiesta todas las noches
It is rumoured that you party every night


Through this periphrasis we mean an action that begun in the past and that still continues in the present.


Te vengo diciendo desde hace muchos días que cambies tu actitud
Since many days, I have been telling you to change your attitude


We use SEGUIR+ gerund to mean a continued process. This periphrasis is usually preceded by the time adverb todavía (still)


¿Todavía sigue trabajando en correos?
Is he still working at the post office?


In this case, we talk about the duration of an action or condition, that begun in the past and is still ongoing.


Lucía y Mario llevan casados diez años
Lucía and Mario have been married for ten years

In the negative form, we do NOT use the Gerund, but rather the INFINITIVE.

The right negative structure is: LLEVAR + SIN + INFINITIVE


Lleva dos semanas sin tomar café
She hasn’t been drinking coffee for two weeks.


We only use LLEVAR in the present or imperfect tense, neither in past simple nor present perfect. In the latter cases, we will use ESTAR + gerund.


Daniel estuvo estudiando francés dos años (correct)
X Daniel llevó estudiando francés dos años (wrong)

We hope this blog about the verb periphrases with the gerund gives you some new inputs for your Spanish learning process.

As usual, our Spanish school el Rincón del Tándem, invites you to explore more about Spanish grammar and language, by following our blog.

Finally, we are waiting for you at our school, where you can learn this and more with our cheap Spanish courses in Valencia 🙂

Stay tuned!