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Grammar - 'ing' words

In this Spanish Difficult Review quiz you will be looking at 'ing' words as they are used in Spanish. However, before moving on with 'ing' words, let’s take a very quick look at 'ing' words in English.

If you recall, an 'ing' word can either be an adjective (adjetivo), a noun (sustantivo), an adverb (adverbio) or a verb (verbo). As you then later learned in the Spanish Difficult Review quiz titled Grammar: Using 'ing' With Spanish Verbs, when a verb contains an 'ing' ending, that verb is known as a progressive verb. To be a progressive verb, however, you also need to include the Spanish 'to be' verb of estar. For example, let’s look at the sentence that reads: He is eating.

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The Progressive Tense

The verb 'eating' contains the 'ing' ending. It is a progressive verb because it indicates that an action is/was or will be ongoing or it will be progressing. In other words, he didn’t just eat and was done with it but rather, he kept eating. However, you would not indicate this by saying: He eating. That doesn’t make any sense. Therefore, in order to show that the action was ongoing, the 'to be' verb is added in and the combination of the 'to be' verb and the progressive verb of 'eating' are used together in the progressive tense.

In English we can quickly recognize a progressive tense verb with the 'ing' ending. However, in Spanish, rather than ending with 'ing', the IR and ER verbs end with the letters 'iendo' while the AR verbs end with the letters 'ando'. Now let’s look at the above sentence as it would appear in Spanish. 'He is eating' becomes 'Está comiendo.'

The Gerund

When an 'ing' verb (verbo) can act as a noun (sustantivo) it is known as a GERUND (just as it is in English). For example, look at the following sentence. 'Sleeping is my favorite hobby.' In Spanish that would read as: Dormir es mi pasatiempo favorito. The difference between English and Spanish is that in English the base form verb of 'to sleep' becomes 'sleeping' whereas in Spanish, to make it a noun the base form of the verb is used along with the Spanish 'to be' verb of ser.

To Be or Not To Be

When an 'ing' verb (verbo) can act as an adjective (adjetivo) it uses either the 'iendo' ending or the 'ando' ending WITHOUT using the Spanish 'to be' verb of estar. For example, look at the sentence of: He is a loving dog. Here, loving is describing the dog so it is being used as an adjective. Since it is an adjective, the 'to be' verb is not used and the Spanish translation would then be: Es un perro amando. The 'ing' Spanish adjective generally will appear directly after the object it is describing such as in this sentence, the dog.

When an 'ing' verb (verbo) can act as an adverb (adverbio) it comes directly after the verb it is describing using the 'iendo' ending or the 'ando' ending. The usage of an 'ing' verb as an adverb is not a common practice in either English nor Spanish but it does exist from time to time. For example, let’s look at the following Spanish sentence. La niña canta prometiendo. This translates to read: The little girl sings promising. It sounds strange but promising does describe how she sings making it an adverb as it further describes the action.

This may all sound a bit confusing at the beginning of learning how to use 'ing' words in Spanish but just as you have conquered them in English, so too shall you conquer them in Spanish. Now let’s move on to take the quiz.

This quiz will help you to get started in being able to quickly distinguish the four different types of 'ing' words. There are ten Spanish sentences and each sentence contains an 'ing' word within it. Your task is to see if that 'ing' word is being used as an adjetivo, a sustantivo, and adverbio or a verbo. Take your time. You can do it!

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  1. Mentir es malo.
    The sentence reads: Lying is bad. Notice that the base form of the verb is being used with the Spanish 'to be' verb ser. This tells you that the 'ing' word is being used as a noun or sustantivo.
  2. Lo es árbol dando.
    The sentence reads: It is a giving tree. Notice that the Spanish 'to be' verb estar is not used with the 'ing' word and the 'ing' word comes after the object it is describing. This tells you that the 'ing' word here is an adjective or adjetivo.
  3. Mi hermano está ayudando a mi padre.
    The sentence reads: My brother is helping my father. Notice the 'to be' verb estar has been used before the 'ing' word ayudando. This then tells you that the 'ing' word is being used as a progressive verb or verbo.
  4. El sacerdote ora esperando.
    The sentence reads: The priest prays hoping. Notice that the 'ing' word comes directly after the verb of prays. This means that the 'ing' word is describing the verb making it an adverb or adverbio.
  5. Invadir es el plan del enemigo.
    The sentence reads: Invading is the plan of the enemy. Notice that the base form of the verb is being used with the Spanish 'to be' verb ser. This tells you that the 'ing' word is being used as a noun or sustantivo.
  6. La profesora sienta pensando.
    The sentence reads: The teacher sits thinking. Notice that the 'ing' word comes directly after the verb of sits. This means that the 'ing' word is describing the verb making it an adverb or adverbio.
  7. El doctor está trabajando en el pie del hombre.
    The sentence reads: The doctor is working on the man’s foot. (Literal translation is: The doctor is working on the foot of the man.) Notice the 'to be' verb estar has been used before the 'ing' word trabajando. This then tells you that the 'ing' word is being used as a progressive verb or verbo.
  8. Él oyó el viento silbando.
    The sentence reads: He heard the whistling wind. Notice that the Spanish 'to be' verb estar is not used with the 'ing' word and the 'ing' word comes after the object it is describing. This tells you that the 'ing' word here is an adjective or adjetivo.
  9. Lo estuvo lloviendo en las montañas.
    The sentence reads: It was raining in the mountains. Notice that it is in the past tense. Also notice the 'to be' verb estar has been used before the 'ing' word lloviendo. This then tells you that the 'ing' word is being used as a progressive verb or verbo.
  10. Ganar es el mejor.
    The sentence reads: Winning is the best. Notice that the base form of the verb is being used with the Spanish 'to be' verb ser. This tells you that the 'ing' word is being used as a noun or sustantivo.

Author: Christine G. Broome

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