use of gerund

Discussion in 'Português (Portuguese)' started by erick, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. erick Senior Member

    Los Angeles, California
    California, English
    In response to my use of the progressive (gerúndio) in Portuguese, a Brazilian said to me:
    "Lembre-se nunca use o gerúndio em português, é feio."

    I don't believe it ... how else can you express the "progressive" (verb-ing)? And why would the gerundio exist if one is not meant to use it?

    The indicative does not have the same meaning as the progressive.

    I found a discussion on it here on WR but it's entirely in Portuguese and as a beginner I'm not seeing the sense/nuance of when to use it or not.

    And what alternative should I use instead? How would you suggest a beginner of Portuguese to approach this?
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  2. Dom Casmurro

    Dom Casmurro Senior Member

    Brazil Portuguese
    I guess your Brazilian acquaintance was trying to draw your attention to a usage of the gerúndio that happens to be bad Portuguese. What he probably had in mind is the way people use gerúndio in situations where a simple present or future tense would do the trick. For example: a receptionist gets a phone call and tells the person on the other end that the call will be transferred to the department in charge. He/she says: "Vou estar transferindo a sua chamada", instead of the much more straightforward way of saying the same thing: "Vou transferir a sua chamada".
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  3. Benvindo Senior Member

    Brazil, Portuguese
    I agree with Dom Casmurro. Saying that the use of the gerúndio in PT is wrong or even 'feio' is too radical a point o view! Maybe your friend was referring to the particular use of the gerund that Casmurro pointed out to, or to a difference between Brazilian PT and some varieties of European PT, in which Brazilians use the gerund where the Portuguese would use a + the infinitive, your friend preferring the European usage, like in this example (there are also discussions on this topic in the Forum):
    European PT, but as far as I know, neither universal nor exclusive: Não entendo o que a pessoa está a dizer.
    Brazilian PT, more frequent, but also not exclusive: Não entendo o que a pessoa está dizendo.
  4. erick Senior Member

    Los Angeles, California
    California, English
    Thank you. He was absolute in saying that you never, ever use gerund in Portuguese (and he's Brazilian). I was dubious about his claims so I asked here.

    so "a + infinitive" replaces the gerund in Portugal?

    In English we often say, "speaking of _______." Does that work the same in Portuguese?
    Falando do gerúndio, meu amigo disse que não se-usa(?) nunca o gerúndio em português.

    (?) I'm thinking in Italian: "Non si usa mai il gerundio"

  5. Dom Casmurro

    Dom Casmurro Senior Member

    Brazil Portuguese
    With all due respect to your friend, he doesn't seem to excel in his role as a Portuguese tutor...;)
  6. erick Senior Member

    Los Angeles, California
    California, English
    Indeed! (Just an acquaintance, not a friend, but still I'm glad I can ask a second opinion here)

    Another gerúndio question.
    In English I would say, "I enjoy watching old movies."
    Can I say:

    "Eu divirto-me assistindo/vendo filmes velhos."
    or filmes clássicos?

    (Like movies from the 1940s-60s)
  7. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    As my Brazilian friends have said above I think it is just the opposite, we use gerund all the time. The only occasion we'd "forbid" :D foreigners to use it, it is in the situation Casmurro has already said. The problem is the abuse of gerundism in the place of the future tense. This mania was spread all over the country by telemarketers (influenced by English telemarking) and it is a constant struggle for Portuguese teachers trying to make students to write the correct future tense in their papers and tests.
  8. Benvindo Senior Member

    Brazil, Portuguese
    Yes, a+the participle is preferred for that kind of construction, but it doesn't mean that it's of exclusive use there, just as the use of the gerund for the same purpose is not exclusive in Brazil (sometimes we use a+participle too, though less frequently than the Portuguese). See more on the use of the gerund here, here, here and here (lots of discussin on this topic, though most in Portuguese proper. If you have further doubts, just keep posting).

    Yes, that's common in Brazil, though the alternative form with "por falar em", like "Por falar em gerúndio, meu amigo disse que não se usa:tick: nunca o gerúndio em português", using the example you gave, can also be used (sorry for the repeated use of "use", no other verb came to my mind just now!! :eek:).
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  9. Erick404 Senior Member

    Rio de Janeiro
    Portuguese - Brazil
    And there's also the present continuous:

    "I cant speak now, I'm eating."
    "Não posso falar agora, estou comendo."

    Nesse tipo de construção, o gerúndio também é perfeitamente natural. (mas em Portugal se usuaria "estou a comer")
  10. MOC Senior Member

    In most of Portugal, yes. It would be "estou a comer". However, in some regions "estou comendo" would be the most common usage.

    EDIT: But just to add up to the conversation above, even if it's not used as much, I can't see how the use of the gerund could be considered ugly. Even in Portugal, the most that could happen is to be "labelled" as "brazilian", not ugly.
  11. caioguima New Member

    I would guess that what you're friend called ugly (and I would have to agree that it is in fact bad usage of the portuguese language) are the gerunds much used in work presentations, office language, etc.

    Example 1:
    Nós estaremos comprando novos computadores para a sala.

    The more natural way of saying that would be;
    Nós compraremos novos computadores para a sala.

    Example 2:
    Nós estaremos falando, mais a frente na apresentação, sobre isso

    Nós falaremos, mais a frente na apresentação, sobre isso

    This type of usage of the gerund is borrowed from English. I wouldn't say that it´s wrong, but it is VERY ugly, and very annoying.
    If you are a beginner in the language, I don´t believe using this type of language will cause you many problems though
  12. johnsherman New Member

    When he says the gerund is never used, he's probably differentiating the gerund from the present participle. The way I understand it, the English present participle is called "gerúndio" in Portuguese, but only used the same way present participle is used in English. The English way of using gerund is not used in Portuguese, which is probably what your friend meant.


    In English: running shoes. In this case, running is the gerund.
    In Portuguese: sapatos de correr. In this case, correr is left in the infinitive and the gerund is NOT used.

    In English: I am running. In this case, running is the present participle
    In Portuguese: Estou correndo. In this case, correndo is the gerúndio in Portuguese, aka present participle in English.

  13. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    That would be my guess as well: in other words, the so-called gerund can be used in Portuguese as an adverb, but not as a noun. If you need a noun, use an infinitive or an actual noun.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013

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