- Present Participle - Forming and Usage
- Present Participle vs. Other Forms
The present participle in French is mainly used in written texts, but it is an important grammar construction - for example, for forming gerunds. Let's learn more about it.
J'ai entendu Mark parlant à quelqu'un.
I sam Mark talking to someone.
Present Participle - Forming and Usage
Rule 1: The present participle is formed by taking the nous form of the verb and replacing the -ons ending with -ant.
Manger - mangeant.
To eat - eating.
There are only three irregular verbs in the present participle:
- Être (to be): étant
- Avoir (to have): ayant
- Savoir (to know): sachant
Rule 2: The present participle is not as common in French as it is in English, but it can be used in several contexts:
- with the preposition en in a form of [object Promise]
Il regardait la télé en mangeant.
He was watching TV while eating.
- as a verb on its own: in that case, it corresponds to the English -ing form
Vivant à Paris, je mangeais souvent de la bonne nourriture.
Living in Paris, I ate good food often.
In both cases, the present participle does not with the subject of the sentence or any other noun.
Present Participle vs. Other Forms
Rule 3: In spoken French, instead of the present participle, you can often use:
- a relative sentence with qui
Il lit un livre racontant la vie d’une star -> Il lit un livre qui raconte la vie d’une star.
He's reading a book that tells the story of a star.
- a regular sentence
Le temps n’étant pas trop mauvais, Max a pu jouer au foot. -> Comme le temps n’était pas trop mauvais, Max a pu jouer au foot.
Since the weather wasn't too bad, Max could play football.
Translate: Eating ramen, I feel like the happiest person in the world.