Gerund in Italian vs Infinitive

The use of the Gerund in Italian is often different by the use of the Gerund (the “ing” form) in English. In many situation the English uses the Gerund while the Italian uses the Infinitive. That’s why we would like to focus on when (not) to use the Gerund in Italian. At the same time we will conduct an analysis of the Gerund in Italian vs Infinitive in order to tell you when to the Infinitive instead of the Gerund.

Gerund in Italian vs Infinitive

First of all we can say that the Gerund is used, like in English, for making the Past and the Present Continuous. See these example below:

  • Stavo ascoltando la musica quando è arrivato Pietro (I was listening to the music when Pietro arrived)
  • Maria sta parlando (Maria is speaking).

By the way we have to consider a couple of situations in which the English  uses the Gerund and the Italian doesn’t.

The first situation is when you want to use a Verb as a subject of a sentence. See these example here below:

  • Andare al cinema è divertente” (Going to the cinema is amusing)”,
  • Suonare bene il pianoforte non è per niente facile” (Playing well the piano is not easy at all).

You can see that Italian uses the Infinitive as subject, the English uses the Gerund.

The second aspect to keep in consideration is the role of the Gerund in a sentence. In Italian it refers always to the subject of the sentence, in English this is not necessary. If I say in Italian: “Ho visto Maria tornando da scuola” (“I have seen Maria coming back from School”), it is clear that “I” was coming back from School, not Maria. In English instead you can understand that Maria was coming back from school when you saw her.

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Finally there are many situations in which English uses Gerund while Italian uses the Infinitive. We divided them into 4 categories.

Gerund vs. Infinitive after Prepositions that stand alone

 GERUND in EnglishINFINITIVE in Italian

AFTER

After having a shower, I waited for Stefano.

DOPO

Dopo aver fatto la doccia ho aspettato Stefano.

BEFORE

Luca does homework before going to the doctor.

PRIMA DI

Luca fa i compiti prima di andare dal dottore.

WITHOUT

He told the joke without laughing.

SENZA

Ha raccontato la barzelletta senza ridere.

Gerund in Italian vs Infinitive

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Gerund vs. Infinitive after Adjective + Prepositions

 GERUND in EnglishINFINITIVE in Italian

AFRAID OF

She is afraid of losing the match.

TIMOROSO DI

E’ timorosa di perdere la partita.

GOOD AT 

Giorgio is good at annoying people.

BRAVO A

Giorgio è bravo a dare fastidio alle persone.

TIRED OF

I’m tired of waiting for you.

STANCO DI

Sono stanco di aspettarti.

FAMOUS FOR

Luca is famous for dancing Samba.

FAMOSO PER

Luca è famoso per ballare il Samba.

FED UP WITH

I’m fed up with being treated as a child.

STUFO DI

Sono stufo di essere trattato come un bambino.

PROUD OF

She is proud of riding a snowboard.

ORGOGLIOSO DI

E’ orgogliosa di andare sullo snowboard.

SICK OF

Luca is sick of looking for a job.

STANCO DI

Luca è stanco di cercare lavoro.

Gerund in Italian vs Infinitive

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Gerund vs. Infinitive after Noun + Prepositions

 GERUND in EnglishINFINITIVE in Italian

ADVANTAGE OF

Which is the advantage of making that choice?

VANTAGGIO DI

Qual è il vantaggio di fare quella scelta?

CHANCE OF

There’s a chance of catching a cold these days.

POSSIBILITA’, CHANCE DI

C’è la possibilità di prendere un raffreddore in questi giorni.

CHOISE BETWEEN

There is a choice between taking the train to the bus.

SCELTA TRA

C’è la scelta tra prendere il treno o l’autobus.

DIFFICULTY IN

He has difficulty in driving the car.

DIFFICOLTA’ NEL

Lui ha difficoltà nel guidare la macchina

DOUBT ABOUT

I have a doubt about buying this new software.

DUBBIO SU

Ho un dubbio sul comprare questo nuovo software.

HOPE OF

There’s still a little hope of passing the exam.

SPERANZA DI

C’è ancora una piccola speranza di passare l”esame.

IDEA OF

Marco has the idea of buying a new house.

IDEA DI

Marco ha l’idea di comprare una casa nuova.

INTEREST IN

There’s no interest in writing letters.

INTERESSE IN

Non c’è più interesse nello scrivere le lettere.

OPPORTUNITY OF

She has the opportunity of changing her job.

OPPOERTUNITA’ DI

Lei ha l’opportunità di cambiare lavoro.

POSSIBILITY OF

The possibility of fixing this car is low.

POSSIBILITA’ DI

La possibilità di aggiustare questa macchina è bassa.

PROBLEM OF

He has the problem of swimming too slow.

PROBLEMA DI

Ha il problema di nuotare troppo lentamente.

REASON OF

There’s a real reason for winning the contest.

RAGIONE DI

C’è una vera ragione per vincere il concorso.

RISK OF

There’s a risk of digging too deep.

RISCHIO DI

C’è il rischio di scavare troppo in profondità.

WAY OF

This is a new way of building a wall.

MODO DI

Questo è un nuovo modo di costruire un muro.

Gerund in Italian vs Infinitive

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Gerund vs. Infinitive after Verb + Prepositions

 GERUND in EnglishINFINITIVE in Italian

ACCUSE OF

They were accused of breaking into a shop.

ACCUSARE DI

Sono stati accusati di irrompere in un negozio.

APOLOGIZE FOR

They apologized for being late.

SCUSARSI PER

Si sono scusati per essere in ritardo.

DREAM OF

Sue dreams of being a rock star.

SOGNARE DI

Sue sogna di diventare una rock star.

GET USED TO 

You must get used to working long hours.

ABITUARSI A

Devi abituarti a lavorare a lungo.

RELY ON

Can you rely on him?

CONTARE SU

Puoi contare su di lui?

TALK ABOUT OF

They often talk about travelling to New Zealand

PARLARE DI

Parlano spesso di fare un viaggio in Nuova Zelanda.

THING OF

Frank thinks of playing chess.

PENSARE DI

Frank pensa di giocare a scacchi.

 

Gerund in Italian vs Infinitive

To know more about the Indefinite Italian Moods, like the Italian Gerund take a look on our previous post about Italian Moods and Tenses.

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Gerund in Italian vs Infinitive

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