I have had SO many arguments with Italians about the ‘gerundio’, and now I realise why!
In English a ‘gerund’ is a verb moonlighting as a noun.
For example in the sentences ‘I like swimming’ and ‘Swimming is good exercise’.
In the first case the verb is ‘like’ and swimming is the object or complement. In the second case the verb is ‘is’ and swimming is the subject of the verb.
So ‘swimming’ can be a thing, the subject or object of a verb.
Contrast that with its use in the sentence ‘I am swimming’, where it’s not a gerund but a present participle, that is to say part of the tense form.
When ‘swimming’ is part of a tense, it’s a present participle.
When it’s the subject or object of another verb, it’s a gerund.
But take a random Italian teacher (or Italian student of English) and try and explain that?
You’d be wasting your breath.
The problem is that Italians use the word ‘gerundio’ to mean…. present participle!
The result? Total confusion.
(Banging people’s heads against walls is illegal, and in any case doesn’t help.)
So you and I?
We’ll agree to use the English term for today’s lesson on the ‘present participle’ (‘gerundio’ in italiano).
I’ve just spent an hour re-writing it for you, ferociously eliminating spelling mistakes, some of the more stupid grammar ‘explanations’, and any mention of the word ‘gerund’.
But guess what?
Apart from the odd direct object pronoun, included just to ensure that you don’t get complacent, the grammar is basically the same as in English.
And better still, the conjugations are simple too.
So, apart from the risk of losing one’s cool over the correct use of grammatical terms, today’s free Italian lesson should be a walk in the park.
Check it out here:
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More on Friday.