12.2 - Presenting gerunds

Once you are able to understand the present tense in detail, you will also be able to recognise a form of the verb called the present gerund. Gerunds are verbal adverbs, and there are two types in Ukrainian: the present (or imperfective) gerund, generally translated as "while doing", "when doing", etc., and the past gerund, of which more later.

You may already have come across a word which appears to be a verb, but ends in -чи. This ending is the mark of the present gerund, which can be used in expressing one of two simultaneous actions, as in "When listening to music on the Internet you can get a virus".

The present gerund in Ukrainian is formed by taking the third person plural (the "they" form) of the present tense, removing the characteristic ending -ть, then adding the present gerund ending -чи. Examples are given below.

infinitive 3rd person plural "they" present gerund
слухати слухаю-ть слухаючи
купувати купую-ть купуючи
казати кажу-ть кажучи
бачити бача-ть бачачи
сидіти сидя-ть сидячи
говорити говоря-ть говорячи
стояти стоя-ть стоячи

A couple of useful set phrases in which the present gerund is used:

коротко кажучи in brief (speaking briefly)
чесно кажучи to tell you the truth (speaking honestly)

N.B. Because the present gerund is a type of adverb, it only has one form, which does not change.

To practise forming the gerund for a selection of verbs go to Exercise 12.2A.

Part of the collection of resources at UkrainianLanguage.org.uk
© 2007 Marta Jenkala