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Forming Le Gérondif: en + '-ant' (while/by + -ing)

Look at these sentences:

En allant au cinéma, j'ai croisé Mathilde.
While going to the cinema, I met Mathilde.

Il est allé au marché en courant.
He went to the market running.

Je me suis blessé en me rasant.
I hurt myself while shaving.

En faisant mon lit, j'ai retrouvé mes chaussettes.
While making my bed, I found my socks.

When talking about two actions that happen simultaneously, you will use : 

en + Participe présent / Gérondif

You can also use tout en Participe présent / Gérondif - literally "all in doing something" - to emphasise the fact that the two actions are being done at the same time :

Tout en préparant le repas de ses belles sœurs, Cendrillon rêvait au Prince Charmant.
As she was making her stepsisters' meal, Cinderella dreamt of Prince Charming.

J'ai eu mon Master tout en travaillant dans un restaurant tous les weekends.
I got my Master while working in a restaurant every weekend.

Il est possible de faire des bénéfices tout en protégeant l'environnement.
It's possible to make a profit while protecting the environment.

Charlotte a rangé son appartement tout en discutant avec sa mère au téléphone.
Charlotte tidied up her apartment while chatting on the phone with her mother.

 

To form the Participe présent / Gérondif of a verb:

Take the stem of the nous form of the verb in Présent indicatif + -ant 

jouer -> nous jouons -> jouant
finir -> nous finissons -> finissant
prendre -> nous prenons -> prenant
faire -> nous faisons -> faisant

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Il est allé au marché en courant.
He went to the market running.


Charlotte a rangé son appartement tout en discutant avec sa mère au téléphone.
Charlotte tidied up her apartment while chatting on the phone with her mother.


Tu y es allé en marchant?
You went there walking?


En faisant mon lit, j'ai retrouvé mes chaussettes.
While making my bed, I found my socks.


Il est possible de faire des bénéfices tout en protégeant l'environnement.
It's possible to make a profit while protecting the environment.


Elle a gagné du temps en prenant le train.
She saved time by taking the train.


J'ai eu mon Master tout en travaillant dans un restaurant tous les weekends.
I got my Master while working in a restaurant every weekend.


En allant au cinéma, j'ai croisé Mathilde.
While going to the cinema, I met Mathilde.


Tout en préparant le repas de ses belles sœurs, Cendrillon rêvait au Prince Charmant.
As she was making her stepsisters' meal, Cinderella dreamt of Prince Charming.


Je me suis blessé en me rasant.
I hurt myself while shaving.



Q&A

theresa

Kwiziq community member

1 April 2018

7 replies

how do we change a sentence in past tense to gerondif?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

1 April 2018

1/04/18

I am not sure I understand your question. Can you post an example of what you're struggling with?


-- Chris. 

theresa

Kwiziq community member

2 April 2018

2/04/18

Elle est partie,  elle a pris sa voiture. 

Chris

Kwiziq community member

2 April 2018

2/04/18

Elle est partie en prisant sa voiture.


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Geree

Kwiziq community member

7 April 2018

7/04/18

I think you mean - en prenant - n'est-ce pas?

steven

Kwiziq community member

8 April 2018

8/04/18

Yes Geree I think you're right. The participe present of "prendre" is prenant

Chris

Kwiziq community member

11 April 2018

11/04/18

Oh, yes, of course! Silly me!


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

20 April 2018

20/04/18

Elle est partie en prenant sa voiture is indeed correct!

Chris

Kwiziq community member

21 March 2018

4 replies

Comment on dit: Is it not so?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

22 March 2018

22/03/18

Bonjour Chris !


I would need some context to give you an accurate answer :)

Chris

Kwiziq community member

22 March 2018

22/03/18

OK Aurelie,


My examples are:


You went to the cinema yesterday. Is it not so? Or


You are waiting for her. Not so?


Thanks, again, for your support.


Chris

Chris

Kwiziq community member

22 March 2018

22/03/18

Hi Chris,


I think what you are looking for is "n'est-ce pas". It corresponds to the Engish "isn't it?"


Tu es allé au ciné hier soir, n'est-ce pas? -- You went to the movies yesterday evening, didn't you?


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

22 March 2018

22/03/18

Bonjour Chris !


Ok, in that case, you could use the followings:


Tu es allé au cinéma hier, c'est correct ?
Tu es allé au cinéma hier, c'est pas vrai ?


or


Tu l'attends bien ?
Tu l'attends, c'est ça ?


I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

stephen

Kwiziq community member

23 August 2017

1 reply

Why " Ils auraient de la chance" not "Ils seriaent de la chance)

Sally

Kwiziq community member

23 August 2017

23/08/17

To express 'being lucky'... you use the phrase 'avoir de la chance'. So if you put this in the conditional 'would be lucky' you would put the 'avoir' in the conditional... not 'être'. In English we say... I am lucky. In French we say 'J'ai de la chance'

Matilka

Kwiziq community member

29 March 2017

3 replies

Could you explain when you would use en + le gérondif as opposed to tout en + le gérondif? Thanks!

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

29 March 2017

29/03/17

Bonjour Matilka !

The expression "tout en" is simply a way to emphasise the simultaneity of action (*all the while* doing something).

À bientôt !

Simon

Kwiziq language super star

30 April 2018

30/04/18

Is there a lesson wth more details on the use of "tout en" Aurèlie ? I see it all over the place often times it doesn't make intuitive sense (to me), some varied examples would be really useful.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

13 June 2018

13/06/18

Excellente suggestion Simon !
I've now added "tout en" cases to the above lesson :)


Bonne journée !

Susan

Kwiziq community member

9 October 2016

2 replies

RE Tu y es allé en marchant Would one be more

likely to say that or . . . allé à pied?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

10 October 2016

10/10/16

"En marchant" to me connotes the meaning of "while walking". So that would mean "You went there while walking." -- which dosent sound right. Therefore I strongly vote for "Tu y es allé à ped."

Mind you, I am not a French native speaker.

-- Chris.

Susan

Kwiziq community member

10 October 2016

10/10/16

Agree. But, like you, I wonder how a French person would look at it.

Kevin

Kwiziq community member

12 September 2016

1 reply

Where can I find information on the site about different gerunds for ir-class verbs?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

12 September 2016

12/09/16

Bonjour Kevin,

Kwiziq doesn't currently have a lesson on gerund conjugations - though it's on our list! In the meantime, take a look at Gerund conjugations

John

Kwiziq community member

13 April 2016

1 reply

Question in the film clip at 7:00mins into it...

An example is given = elle ouvert sa fenêtre en se levant. Is this correct?, or should it be elle a ouvert sa fenêtre en se lavant?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

13 April 2016

13/04/16

Bonjour John,

Yes, you're absolutely correct: it should indeed be "elle a ouvert sa fenêtre.". "En se levant" is correct, meaning 'while getting up', versus "en se lavant" meaning 'while washing'.

Thanks for pointing this out!

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