Participe Présent in French

Participe Présent in French (Gerund in French)

Most of the words ending in -ant in French.
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I saw Pierre eating a hamburger : J’ai vu Pierre mangeant un hamburger

1 Who, which, that + verb

the children who shout too loudly will be punished
can be : les enfants qui crient trop fort seront punis
but also with the Participe Présent: les enfants criant trop fort seront punis.

tick the box that matches your choice
can be: cochez la case qui correspond à votre choix
but also: cochez la case correspondant à votre choix

We use the participe présent for “I saw Pierre eating a hamburger ”  because the whole sentence is “I saw Pierre  who was eating a hamburger” (who + verb)


When we speak, we prefer to use the expression with “qui” in French as the Participe Présent here is a bit formal. We also use it for general statements or rules!

 2 Participe Présent (Gérondif):

A. by + verb-ing = en + verbe-ant

She improved her French by speaking a lot: elle a amélioré son français en parlant beaucoup
By working fast, I finished earlier: en travaillant vite, j’ai fini plus tôt.

 B. Simultaneous actions

I work while listening to some music: je travaille en écoutant de la musique

C. Because, parce que

When because is suggested but not written, we use the participe présent:

Ne sachant que faire, il … : without knowing what to do, he… we could say: because he did not know what to do….

 3 Adjective

A participe présent may become an adjective

A funny book: un livre amusant

Encouraging results: des résultats encourageants

An arduous work: un travail fatigant

An arduous activity: une activité fatigante

The winning number: le numéro gagnant


Fatigant is the adjective but fatiguant is the verb.

Une activité fatigante

Une activité fatiguant les yeux: an eye strain activity (no final “e” because it is a verb)

4. Nouns

A participe présent may become a noun

Les étudiants (from the verb étudier)

Les gagnants

5 How to form the Participe Présent

We use the “nous” form of the verb

Manger => mangeons => mangeant

Finir => finissons => finissant

6 Differences between English and French

We don’t use the participe présent to translate the present continuous:

I am reading: Je suis en train de lire (or je lis)

We don’t use it after verbs like to love, to enjoy:

I enjoyed reading this book: j’ai apprécié lire ce livre

We don’t use it to translate expressions like “living our dreams”, “working is a waste of time” :

Living our dreams: vivre nos rêves

Working is a waste of time: travailler est une perte de temps


We left singing

By being polite, you will have more cake

Feeling ill, he did not come

People who are 25 can step forward

Arms manufaturers

He is driving while talking on the phone

Knowing nothing and living happy

Knowing nothing I need more information

Living in London is expensive

Living in London, he was able to see the Queen

Living in London at that time, he made a lot of money

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One thought on “Participe Présent in French

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