French Grammar Explained /

The gerund (way and simultaneity)

Can I ask you a question?
Oui, bien sûr !
Est-ce que tu parles en dormant ?
Do you talk while you're asleep?
Yes and apparently I speak French! Haha, just kidding...
Okay... another question:
Est-ce que tu as déjà réussi un examen en trichant ?
Have you ever passed an exam by cheating?
I won't say anything without my lawyer.
Relax, I am just trying to illustrate some grammar points here.
Yes, let's talk grammar, shall we? What do the letters in purple mean?
Bonne question ! Let's focus on the sense of those two sentences first. In the first one, what actions are you supposedly doing?
Hm... I see two actions: je parle and je dors.
Oui, c'est ça. And in the second sentence?
J'ai réussi and j'ai triché...
Yes, now look carefully at those two sentences and tell me in which one you are doing things simultaneously and in which one a verb explains 'how' the other action has been done.
Hm... in the first sentence, I do the two actions at the same time and in the second one, I 'passed the exam by cheating'... but come on, I was young, I wouldn't do that anymore!
That's it, bravo ! The gerund can be used to express different things but for now we are focusing on these two. This is how you form it:
You need the 1st person plural of the present tense + en + the -ant ending:
Nous partons → partonsen partant
Just be careful with these three verbs because they like to do their own thing:
être → en étant
avoir → en ayant
savoir → en sachant
Voilà ! Maintenant, on va pratiquer le gérondif en s'amusant !