Portuguese Tip: Infinitives and Gerunds Part 1

By Teacher Claudia
Happy 2007, dear readers! Thank you for your encouraging emails, interesting suggestions and useful critique on my work.

My foreign students sometimes misuse infinitives and gerunds, especially if their mother-tongue is English. As the topic presents several details”, I’m splitting it in two lessons. Let’s study the gerund first, shall we?

Activity 1
Read the beginning of the song “Sentidos”, by Zlia Duncan:

“Não quero seu sorriso
Quero sua boca
No meu rosto
Sorrindo pra mim.

Não quero seus olhares
Quero seus clios
Nos meus olhos
Piscando pra mim.”


(I don’t want your smile
Want your mouth
On my face
Smiling to me.

I don’t want your glances
Want your eyelashes
On my eyes
Blinking to me.)

Activity 2
Explanation.
In activity 1, the words sorrindo and piscando have been underlined.

  • They are in the gerund form, usually shown by terms which end in -ando, -endo, -indo.
  • The gerund can be used in two forms, “simples” (sorrindo, piscando) and “composta” (tendo or havendo sorrido, tendo or havendo piscado).
  • The “simples” form explains an action in course:
    Chegando atrasada, ela precisou correr.
  • The “composta” form is about an action ended:
    Tendo chegado atrasada, ela pediu desculpas.
  • There’s always a condition of cause, time, manner and means, plus a sense of timing:
    Acreditando nele, ela se declarou.
    Dizendo aquilo, ele partiu.
  • The gerund can also be with another verb form, creating a “locuão verbal”:
    Est chovendo muito.
    Eles vivem brigando.

    Activity 3
    Attention!
    Differently from English, we can’t use the gerund in the future. The sentence “O diretor estar voltando de Singapura amanh” is wrong! “O diretor voltar de Singapura amanh” is correct.

    Activity 4
    Practice what you’ve studied.
    Complete these sentences with the gerund form:
    a. …………………………, faremos a festa. (poder)
    b. …………………………. vencido o jogo, comemorou a vitória. (ter)
    c. Eles estavam ……………………… muito alto! (falar)
    d. Sem dvida, ele vinha ……………………….. o melhor. (ser)

    Ok, dear readers, enough for a day.
    Next class I’ll talk about the infinitive.
    See you!
    Cludia

    Teacher Claudia is available for private classes in São Paulo. She can be contacted at claudiafmla@uol.com.br

    To read previous articles by Teacher Claudia click below:

    Brazil: Portuguese Tip – Ningum X Nenhum
    Brazil: Portuguese Tip – Tudo vs. Todo
    Brazil’s Independence Day
    Brazil: Portuguese Tips – Denials
    Brazil: Portuguese Tips – Não and Nem
    Portuguese Tip: If Clauses Part 1
    Portuguese Tip: If Clauses Part 1
    Portuguese Tip: The X Doubts Part 2
    Portuguese Tip: The X Doubts
    Brazil: To Tell or Not to Tell
    Brazil: Ipiranga Museum
    Portuguese Tip: Odd words
    Portuguese Tip: Interjections and Expressions
    A Brazilian Holiday: October 12th
    Portuguese Tip: Sounds
    Portuguese Tip: Verb Tenses
    Portuguese Tip: The Mystery of Seu, Sua
    Portuguese Tip: Interjections and Expressions
    Portuguese Tips: Plurals – Part 2
    A Brazilian custom: Kissing the Cheek
    Portuguese Tips: Regular Verbs – Simple Past
    Portuguese Tips: Plurals – Part 1
    Portuguese Tips: Regular Verbs – Simple Present
    Portuguese Tips
    Portuguese Tips: Adverbs in Portuguese
    Portuguese Tips: Comparative and Superlative
    Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes
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