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18.1.4 the gerundio to shorten subordinate clauses
We have two -ing forms, going, leaving, eating etc. in English with two very different functions. The gerund, that does NOT correspond to the Portuguese gerundio, is a verbal noun and can have the syntactical functions of a noun, in other words, it can be subject or object of the sentence.
1) gerund as a subject: Reading is a good idea.
2) gerund as an object: He enjoyed driving.
As any other noun the gerund can be used after a preposition.
3) gerund after a preposition: We only asked for receiving an extra blanket.
If one doesn't see that the gerund is a noun, he can simply substitute the gerund by any noun. We get for instance 1) "Coffee is a good idea", 2) "He enjoyed his holidays", 3) "We only askef for Maria". Furthermore we ask for the gerund with the same interrogative pronouns we normally ask for normal nouns, "What is a good idea?", "What does he enjoy?", "What did we ask for?".
The Portuguese gerundio is NOT a noun. The second -ing form is the present participle that resembles in the form to the gerund, but the syntactical function is completely different. The present participle can be an adverb or an adjectiv and can be used to shorten subordinate clauses. The gerundio of the roman languages has the syntactical functions of a present participle.
the present participle as an adjective: I see an eating man crossing the street.
the present participle as an adverb: Laughing she answered him.
the present participle as a relative clause: The picture shows children playing in the sun. (relative clause: The picture shows children, who play in the sun.)
the present participle as a temporal clause: Having cleaned the kitchen Mary went shopping. (temporal clause: After he had cleaned the kitchen Mary went shopping.)
the present participle as a causal clause: Being tired of the discussion he left the room. (causal clause: Since he was tired of the discussion, he left the room.)
The gerundio in roman languages resembles to a present participle, not to the English gerund. The substitution of a subordinate clause with a present participle / gerundio can lead to incomplete sentences. For details concerning conditional clauses see chapter 13). If we substitute the conditional part of a conditional clause we have deduce the meaning from the main clause.
conditional clause type 1
Having money I buy a car.
If I have money I buy a car.
conditional clause type 2
Having money I would buy a car.
If I had money I would buy a car.
conditional clause type 3
Having money I would have bought a car.
I I had had money I would have bought a car.
If the condition is to be accomplished, we must use the gerundio composto.
oração condicional com gerundio simples
If you really want that, you will get good marks in the exams.
frase condicional com gerundio composto
If you have this done, you can survive in this job.
* The same rule as mentioned before. If the sentence starts with a gerund, this gerund is separated by a coma.
If we substitute the conditional part of a conditional clause by a present participle we have to deduce the meaning of the sentence from the main clause. With the present participle can be substituted as well the following subordinated clauses. That works in Portuguese and in English. We use the simple present participle in case of simultanity and the compound present participle in case of anteriority.
If the causality is the result of the fact that an action was finished before the other action started, the use of the compound present perfect is compulsory. The gerundio composto can express anteriority, but whether it is to be translated with present perfect or an past perfect depends on the anchor. If the ancor is the past, the compound gerundio corresponds to the past perfect, if the anchor is the present, the gerundio composto corresponds to the present perfect.
oração causal com gerundio simple
Since he doesn't fulfil the vow he felt remorse.
oração causal com gerundio composto
Since he had fulfilled the vow, he didn't feel any remorse.
oração modal com gerundio simples
you will can
If you do that yourself you can verify yourself what you have learned.
oração modal com gerundio composto
If you have done that you can verify yourself what you have learned.
oração concessiva gerundio simples
a lot of
Even if he works a lot, he doesn't earn a lot of money.
oração concessiva gerundio composto
Although he has worked a lot, he is not rich.
It is quite obvious that this type of construction is normally only possible if the subject of the present participle is the same as the subject of the finite verb. The exceptions to this rules are the cases where the direct object of the finite verb is the subject of the present participle: I saw him singing in the rain.
In 99,9 percent of the cases the context allows us to figure out the meaning. In some isolated cases the sentence becomes ambiguous when the subordinate clause is subsituted by a present participle / gerundio. Lets have a look at this expample. This sentence could be interpeted as a causal clause or a concessive clause.
Knowing that he is not at home, they went to his house.
They went to his home, since they knew that is not at home.
They went to his home, although they knew that he is not at home.
A subordinate clause is introduced by a conjunction that explains the relationship between the action / event described in the main clause and the action / event described in the subordinate clause. If this conjunction is missing, we have to deduce from the context the relationship between these two action / events, what is normally possible.
The English gerund is a verbal noun and in general translated with an infinitive to Portuguese. The English present participle corresponds to the gerundio in Portuguese. In other words: The names are a bit confusing. (The participio do presente Portuguese is almost irrelevant. It exists only in a lexicalised form. It is not possible to form a participio do presente from a verb.)
1) gerund is a noun and translated with an infinitive:
Reading is fun.
Ler é divertente.
2) present participle is an adverb / adverbial or an adjective:
Laughing he left the room.
Rindu saiu da sala.
Instead of reading we can put any noun, "John is fun", "The picture is fun", "The party is fun" etc. The gerund has the syntactical function of noun. We see that by substituting the gerund by a noun. Something that can be substituted by a noun has the syntactical function of a noun. The gerund is translated with a infinitive in Portuguese.
Instead of laughing we can put any adverb, "Angry he left the room", "Annoyed he left the room", "Happy he left the room" etc. The present participle / gerundio is an adverb in this case. Something that can be substituted by an adverb has the syntactical function of an adverb. Reading and laughing resembles each other, but are two completely different things. The present participle is translated with a gerundio.