What is a Verbal Periphrasis?

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In Spanish we form a verbal periphrasis to express a single idea by using two verbs in the same sentence, in a similar way in English we use Phrasal verbs. Their usual structure is: Auxiliary verb + nexus (might not be present) + verb (impersonal form). The different types of verbal periphrasis are:


  • Obligation: Tener que/ Deber/ Haber de / Haber que + Infinitive
  • Probability: Venir a / Deber de + Infinitive
  • Possibility: Poder + Infinitive
  • Imminent action: Ir a / Estar por / Estar a punto de + Infinitive
  • Inchoative: Ponerse a / Romper a / Comenzar a / Echarse a / Empezar a + Infinitive
  • Frequency: Soler + Infinitive
  • Repetition: Volver a + Infinitive
  • Continuity: Estar / Andar / Venir / Ir/ Seguir + Gerund
  • Ending: Dejar de, acabar de, terminar de/ llegar a/ cesar de + Infinitive
  • Ending: Traer / Dejar / Quedar / Estar / Tener / Llevar / Verse / Sentirse + Participle



            Tienes que concentrarte en tus deberes (You must concentrate on your homework)

            Iba a salir ahora (I was about to leave now)

            No volveré a ir allí (I won’t go there any more) 

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