French Grammar For Dummies
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To create a French gerund, you need the present participle. Forming the present participle is easy for most verbs, regular and irregular. Take the nous form of the present tense, drop the -ons ending, and replace it with -ant. Do not keep the subject pronoun nous. You’re done!

The table shows how some common verbs form their present participle.

Forming the Gerund of Some Common Verbs
Infinitive Nous Form of Present Present Participle
aller (to go) nous allons (we go) allant (going)
arriver (to arrive) nous arrivons (we arrive) arrivant (arriving)
commencer (to begin) nous commençons (we begin) commençant (beginning)
dire (to say) nous disons (we say) disant (saying)
dormir (to sleep) nous dormons (we sleep) dormant (sleeping)
faire (to do) nous faisons (we do) faisant (doing)
finir (to finish) nous finissons (we finish) finissant (finishing)
manger (to eat) nous mangeons (we eat) mangeant (eating)
ouvrir (to open) nous ouvrons (we open) ouvrant (opening)
parler (to talk) nous parlons (we talk) parlant (talking)
répéter (to repeat) nous répétons (we repeat) répétant (repeating)
tenir (to hold) nous tenons (we hold) tenant (holding)
travailler (to work) nous travaillons (we work) travaillant (working)
vendre (to sell) nous vendons (we sell) vendant (selling)
voir (to see) nous voyons (we see) voyant (seeing)

You only have to worry about three irregular gerunds in French. They are:

  • avoir (to have), which becomes ayant (having)

  • être (to be), which becomes étant (being)

  • savoir (to know), which becomes sachant (knowing)

About This Article

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About the book author:

Véronique Mazet has a doctorate in French from the University of Texas at Austin and is the author of two successful grammar books. She currently teaches French at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas.

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