Participes et gérondif: participles and gerunds in French

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Participles and gerunds in French grammar

Le participe (the participle) and le gérondif (the gerund) are both impersonal verb forms. Like the infinitive, they do not have conjugated forms.

There are three types of participles in French: le participe présent (the present participle), le participe passé (the past participle) and le participe composé (the perfect participle). While the perfect participle only really appears in literary contexts, the present and past participles as well as the gerund are used frequently in French, so it’s worth getting to grips with these impersonal verb forms.

Check out the sections below to learn when to use the participle and when to use the gerund in French grammar. Click on the individual topics for an in-depth overview, then test yourself in the online exercises.



Le temps n’étant pas trop mauvais, Max a pu jouer au foot samedi dernier. Le match fut passionnant et l’équipe adverse était surprenante.

En jouant, Max a marqué un but et son équipe a gagné. En s’entraînant bien, son équipe gagnera aussi le prochain match.

Après le match, Max était de très bonne humeur. Il est rentré chez lui en chantant.