15.5 Use of gerondif in comparison the the participe présent

Since the participe présent and the gerondif are not only similar in form, but also in function, we would like to present the use of the gerondif in comparison to the participe présent.

Overview    
Use participe présent gerondif Example
in relative clause yes no Une personne touchant le SMIG recevra une aide de l' état.
A person earning the minimum wage, will receive a public support.
  in temporal clause yes yes Cherchant son livre, il a trouvé la photo.
En cherchant son livre, il a trouvé la photo.
Searching his book he found the photo.
  in causal subordinate clause yes no N' ayant pas assez d' argent, il ne pouvait pas s' acheter une voiture.
Not having enough money he could not buy a car.
  in conditional clause yes yes Faisant des efforts, il pourrait profiter de son intelligence.
En faisant des efforts, il pourrait profiter de son intelligence.
Making an effort he could profit from his intelligence.
  in other subordinate clause yes no Quoique sachant que c' était impossible, il l' a quand même essayé.
Although knowing that it was impossible he nevertheless did it.
  description of anteriority ja no Ayant lu le livre, il pouvait répondre à toutes les questions.
Having read the book, he was able to answer all questions.
  as adverbial of manner (with extension) * no yes En pleurant elle lui a raconté toute l' histoire.
Crying she told him the whole story.
 

as adverbial of manner (without extension)

no yes Il arrive en courant.
He comes running.
  as answer to a question no yes Comment est-ce que tu as réussi cet examen? En travaillant.
How did you manage to pass the exam. By working.
  in clauses with different subjects yes no La nuit tombant vite en montagne, ils se sont dépêchés d' arriver.
The night falling fast in the mountains, they hurried to arrive.
  Adjectif verbal** yes no Elle avait un sourire séduisant.
She had a winning smile.

* As mentioned before participe présent cannot be used as an adverbial without extension.

 
Example
correct participe présent: Ecrivant ce livre il a appris beaucoup sur lui-même.
  not correct: Ecrivant il a appris beaucoup sur lui-même.
  correct gerondif: En écrivant il a appris beaucoup sur lui-même.
  English: Reading the book he learned a lot about himself.

** this is actually another case of a word that has found its way into the dictionary. Therefore, it is only half-true that it is a participe présent.






contact privacy statement imprint