Brazilian Portuguese: Understanding gerunds

Written by: Daniel

Hi, everyone! My name is Daniel, I am originally from Brazil. When I was 16, I moved to China for four and a half years. I have an AA in Economics from the US and a B.A. in Accounting from a university in Brazil. I love to teach, especially kids because I love to see how they develop. I’ve taught Mathematics, Physics, Portuguese and English for the past 10 years and I love a new challenge. I am great at playing video games and use games in my lessons to help students enjoy learning even more! I love to see my students applying their knowledge outside the classroom in real-life situations. I can’t wait to meet you and to share my culture and language, Portuguese, with you!



Like most Latin-derived languages, Portuguese has its own peculiarities when it comes to grammar: especially when it comes to the Gerund.

All verbs in their infinitive form end with an ‘r’, for example:

Falar – to speak

Comer – to eat 

Ir – to go

When you need to change from its infinitive form to the gerund, you will need to replace the ‘r’ with ‘ndo’ or in English ‘ing’. 

So, for almost every verb that ends with ‘vowel + r’* we will make that switch to ‘ndo’, for example:

Falar – to speak / Falando – speaking

Comer – to eat / Comendo – eating

Ir – to go / Indo – going

Pôr – to put / Pondo – putting

*(there are no verbs that end with ‘ur’ in Portuguese) 

But when should we use gerunds?

Well, you can use in the continuous present and past tenses with the verb estar:

Estou estudando português.

I’m studying Portuguese.

Eu estava tentando abrir a janela.

I was trying to open the window.

Or you can use it to describe an action with the same tense as the main verb:

Eu passei o final de semana inteiro jogando vídeo-game.

I spent the whole weekend playing video games.

Now try turning the Portuguese verbs you already know into their gerund form and try making longer sentences.

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