The non-finate verb forms do not have an inflection or reference to a grammatical person. These forms have a more unique character. In Spanish there are three non-finate verb forms: the infinitive, the gerund and the participle. This article explains the use of these verb forms in Spanish.

Infinitive Infinitivo

The infinitive (in Spanish infinitivo) forms the entry of the verb in a dictionary. For example, you can find a verb conjugation table on by entering the infinitive below:

The infinitive expresses the action of the verb in an non personal way. It can function as a noun. For example:

Fumar mata.
Smoking kills.
Me gusta cantar.
I like singing.

The ending of the infinitive indicates the conjugation class it follows. In Spanish there are three classes and each class has its own regular conjugation, in the table below you see some model verbs:

first conjugation -ar hablar (to speak)
second conjugation -er comer (to eat)
third conjugation -ir vivir (to live)

More basic information on regular conjugations can be found in the article Getting started with Spanish verbs.

Gerund Gerundio

The gerund (in Spanish gerundio) expresses an action simultaneous or directly before the action of the primary verb. In Spanish the gerund always ends in –ando or -iendo.

Usually the gerund is used together with the verb estar to emphasise the process. It is used to express an action that is taking place. Some examples:

Ana está leyendo el periódico.
Ana is reading the newspaper.
El perro lleva ladrando desde las siete de la mañana.
The dog has been barking since seven in the morning.

The gerund is grammatically equivalent to an adverb (in Spanish adverbio). It can express the way something takes place:

Voy al trabajo caminando.
I go to work walking.

Participle Participio

In Spanish the pariciple (in Spanish participio) is used in compound tenses together with the auxiliar verb haber. In Spanish the participle ends in -ado or -ido.

Below you see an example of a pretérito perfecto del indicativo which is used to express an action in the past but close to the moment of speaking:

He visto el peatón.
I've seen the pedestrian.

Read more about the usage of the participle in compound tenses in the articles about the indicative, subjuctive and conditional mode.

The participle can function as an adjective (in Spanish adjetivo). When used as such the ending corresponds with the gender of the noun it is related to:

La película es muy aburrida.
The film is very boring.