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The Gérondif (German “ Gerundium ”, notGerundive ”) is a verb form in the French language that does not exist in German . In terms of linguistic history , it was formed from the gerund - not from the gerundive, as the French name suggests - of Latin . The Latin gerund formally coincided with the present participle in the development from Latin to French. Today it is only connected with the preposition en .


  • En rentrant j'ai trouvé une lettre de Wiki. Il l'avait écrite en m'attendant .
“When I got home, I found a letter from Wiki. He wrote it while he was waiting for me. "


The gérondif (the gerund) today corresponds formally to the present participle, so like this it is equal to the so-called ant-form of the main verb (stem of the 1st person plural present + -ant ) and is always used in modern French with the preposition en connected (in the past, other prepositions were also possible).

  • manger: en mangeant ( cf.nous mangeons ),
  • finir: en finissant (see nous finissons ),
  • vouloir: en voulant (see nous voulons ).

The only exceptions are

  • être: en étant
  • avoir: en ayant
  • savoir: en sachant


The gérondif is in the written language and in the colloquial language used; it can replace either temporal , conditional , concessional, or modal clauses . It can be translated into German

  • as a subordinate clause ( Il mangeait en chantant "He ate while he sang"),
  • as a participle ("He ate singing") or
  • as substantivized Infinitif with at ( "He ate while singing").

In French, the Gérondif is used relatively often because of its brevity.

The prerequisite for using the Gérondif is that the subjects in the main and subordinate clauses are the same.

Furthermore, it can only shorten subordinate clauses, never a main clause.

  • Je le vois quand je sors de l'école. = Je le vois en sortant de l'école.
  • Je mange et je corrige les exercices. = Je mange en corrigeant les exercices.
  • Si je viens , je pourrai t'aider. = En venant , je pourrai t'aider.

Gérondif is possible because there are equal subjects.

  • Si tu viens, je pourrai t'aider.

The Gérondif is not possible here because there are different subjects.

The Gérondif expresses in French:

  • a means or a way in which something happens
  • a condition (dt .: if)
  • the simultaneity of events (German: during)
  • the connection of two main clauses (German: and)