Gerunds, also known as the adverbial participles, are a verb form that behaves like an adverb (they’re indeclinable) and expresses an additional verbal action that takes places alongside the main verbal action of a sentence.
There are two types of gerund: imperfective and perfective gerunds. Imperfective gerunds express an action performed while something else is happening. Perfective gerunds express an action having been performed while something else happened.
Gerunds are not very too common in Russian. Nevertheless, they’re helpful to use and you’ll need to recognize theme in written texts. By completing this lesson and learning about gerunds, you’ll be glad to know that you have now covered all the core Russian grammar concepts.
For more information go here for the gerunds page in our Russian grammar resources.
Imperfective gerunds, aka present gerunds, are used to describe a process taking place alongside another action within a sentence. Crucially, the subject of the imperfective gerund has to be the same as the subject of the main verb in the sentence.
To form the imperfective gerund, add the ending -я or -а to the stem of the third person plural (они) present tense form of the verb. Add the ending я- for most verbs; if the stem ends in -ж, -ч, -ш, -щ, add the ending -a instead.
Verbs ending in -давать form the imperfective gerund a little differently. Add the ending, -в
Perfective gerunds, aka past gerunds, are used to describe a completed action which took place before the action the action of the main verb within a sentence. Crucially, the subject of the perfective gerund has to be the same as the subject of the main verb in the sentence.
If the verb stem of both the infinitive and the past tense ends in a vowel, drop the -л from the past tense and add -в to the stem:
When the infinitive stem ends in a vowel and the past tense stem ends in a consonant other than -л, drop the infinitive -ть and add -в to this stem:
A number of perfective gerunds have the same form and endings as imperfective tense gerunds.
Verbs of motion perfective gerunds use the imperfective gerund ending for their perfective gerund:
Reflexive perfective gerunds have the ending -вшись