Gerund

Definition:To express an action that is related to the main verb. This present participle, called a gerund, always follows the preposition "en".
  1. Describe an action that is related to and simultaneous with the action of the main verb, usually translated as while or upon:
    En voyant les fleurs, elle a pleuré.
    Upon seeing the flowers, she cried.

    Il ne peut pas parler en travaillant.
    He can't talk while working.
  2. Explain how or why something happens:
    C'est en pratiquant que vous le faites bien.
    It's by practicing that you do it well.

    Elle a maigri en faisant beaucoup d'exercise.
    She got thin by excercising a lot.
  3. Replace a relative clause:

    les étudiants venant de l'Afrique
    ...qui viennent de l'Afrique
    students who come from Africa
    les médecins parlant français
    ...qui parlent français
    doctors who speak French
Note: In English, the present participle is very common, but in French it is somewhat awkward, so it is often replaced by the infinitive.



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