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Learn how to express a command in Spanish using Gerundio/Spanish present participle
In colloquial Spanish, the gerund (-ing form) is often used to express a command that indicates the start of a process. It is mainly used with specific verbs; the most common verbs are "andar", "caminar", "circular", "marchar".
Here are some examples:
Vamos, saliendo todos despacio y en silencio.Come on, everyone come out slowly and in silence.
Ya son las tres. Andando, que llegamos tarde.It's 3 already. Let's get a move on, we're late.
¡Circulando! Solo ha sido un pequeño accidente.Keep moving/driving! It was just a minor accident.
¡Corriendo que nos mojamos!Hurry up, we're getting wet!
It is very common in bars and restaurants to hear the waiter say ¡Marchando! after taking a customer's order as a way of letting the kitchen know that they need to start preparing that particular order. For example, a customer says:
Me pone dos cervezas y dos tapas de calamares, por favor.
Can I have two beers and two squid tapas, please?
The person taking their order can reply to both the customer and Antonio in the kitchen:
¡Marchando, dos cervezas y dos tapas de calamares, Antonio!Coming up, two beers and two squid tapas, Antonio!
It is also common to use the gerund in a stronger command, with a threatening tone and an expectation that the action in question must be done immediately, using this construction:
ya + estar + gerund
¡Ya estás largándote de aquí, caradura!Clear off right now, you're shameless!
¡Ya estás devolviendo el dinero que robaste!Give back the money you stole!
There is a colloquial set phrase in Spanish, indicating to get on with things, to move on:
¡Andando que es gerundio!Let's move on!
¡Arreando que es gerundio!Let's move on!
This is used in any context to express the desire to keep things moving.
See also Using preposition a + infinitive to express a command in Spanish and Using que + the present subjunctive in Spanish to to express a wish/command
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