Gerundism: Language Addiction

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You pick up the phone, call the phone company to file a complaint and, on the other end of the line, a nice guy informs: “could you be answering some questions?”, “we will be passing the problem on to the technical team. You will be paying a repair fee..."
It is common in the last days to hear expressions like these all the time. It is a phenomenon with semantic and pragmatic implications, used, in most cases, when the speaker does not want to convey the idea of ​​simultaneous actions, when duration is not a priority.
Gerundism is a verbal phrase in which the main verb appears in the gerund. Its use in Brazilian Portuguese is recent, it is considered by many as a language addiction, since its use is too imprecise.
The gerund is not nefarious, it can be used to express an idea, an ongoing action, which takes place at the moment of another. Its correct use occurs when one intends to express a lasting action, a certain process that will have a certain duration or will be in progress.
The expression “I'll be booking” gives the idea of ​​a future in progress, instead of “I'll reserve”, or even, “I'll reserve”, which narrates something that will occur from the moment of speech.

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The most likely origin for such a structure goes back to American telemarketing operator training manuals, where the structure “we’ll be sending tomorrow” often appeared.
When translating into Portuguese, the structure gained literal translation (“we'll be sending it tomorrow”) and spread.

By Marina Cabral
Specialist in Portuguese Language and Literature
Brazil School Team

Grammar - Brazil School

Source: Brazil School -
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