Unit 4.2

Verb periphrasis Estar + gerund

Contributors

Introduction

A verbal periphrasis [perífrasis verbal] is a grammatical construction made up of two or more verbs that function as one sentence. In these cases, the personal auxiliary verb (conjugated) is joined to another non-personal auxiliary verb with neither gender nor number (it can be infinitive, gerund or participle).

The verbal periphrasis estar + gerund [perífrasis verbal estar + gerundio] is an aspectual construction describing an action present or in progress at the moment of speaking.

Form

The verbal periphrasis estar + gerund is used with the verb estar in the present indicative followed by the verb in the gerund according to the following strucuture:
(Subject +) Estar + gerund + complement + …

Persona Estar Gerundio
Yo estoy hablando/comiendo/viviendo
estás
Él/Ella/Usted está
Nosotros/-as estamos
Vosotros/-as estáis
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes están

The periphrasis is usually accompanied by adverbs or adverbial locutions such as:

  • hoy, este mes, últimamente o desde hace unos días;
  • todo el rato, siempre, a todas horas, todo el día (para enfatizar acciones frecuentes).

Example

  • Yo estoy cansado y, aún así, estoy hablando por los codos;
  • Tú llevas una vida sana y, sin embargo, estás comiendo mucho;
  • Desde que está viviendo en una granja, tiene fiebre todos los días;
  • Ya nos hemos saludado y dado la mano, ahora estamos hablando de otras cosas;
  • Siempre estáis comiendo pero siempre notáis el estómago vacío;
  • Están viviendo felices y caminan cogidos del brazo.

Use

The verb periphrasis estar + gerund is used to:

  • describe a present action that is in progress at the moment of speaking;
  • describe a momentary and/or transitory action;
  • describe a temporary, non-habitual situation;
  • express a progression;
  • emphasise frequent actions or situations (with time expressions such as always).

Summary

In Spanish, the verbal periphrasis estar + gerund is a construction that describes a present action in progress at the moment of speaking.

It has the following formula:
(Subject +) Estar + gerund + complement + …

For example
— «Estuve trabajando en Reino Unido durante 3 meses.» = An activity that is carried out on a transitory basis.

Check the contents of the {Form} section. Then move on the {Example} sections, which shows you the usage in context.

Exercises


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