Irish Lesson 104


Last week, the forms for “I would put”, “you would put”, etc. were given. The negative, the question, the negative question, the “dá”, and the “mura” forms are similar, but the initial consonant may be eclipsed instead of aspirated. This resembles the change system for “tá”.

First, for the negative:

ní chuirfinn (K*IR-hin), I wouldn’t put

ní chuirfeá· (K*IR-faw*), you wouldn’t put

ní chuirfeadh sé (K*IR-huhk* shay*), he wouldn’t put

ní chuirfeadh sí, she wouldn’t put

ní chuirfimis (K*IR-hi-mish), we wouldn’t put

ní chuirfeadh sibh, you-all wouldn’t put

ní chuirfidís (K*IR-hi-deesh), they wouldn’t put

ní chuirfí (K*IR-fee), people wouldn’t put

For verbs ending in a broad consonant, “cas” is an example:

ní chasfainn (K*AHS-hin), I wouldn’t turn

ní chasfá (K*AHS-faw*), you wouldn’t turn

ní chasfadh sé (K*AHS-huhk* shay*), he wouldn’t turn

ní chasfadh sí, she wouldn’t turn

ní chasfaimis (K*AHS-hi-mish), we wouldn’t turn

ní chasfadh sibh, you-all wouldn’t turn

ní chasfaidís (K*AHS-hi-deesh), they wouldn’t turn

ní chasfaí (K*AHS-fwee), people wouldn’t turn

Example: ní chasfaí anseo, mura mbeadh solas ar an mballa; people wouldn’t turn here, if there were not a light on the wall.

For the questions, for “dá”, and for “mura”, eclipsis occurs if the verb begins with a consonant that can be eclipsed.

The simple questions are:

an gcuirfinn? (GIR-hin), would I put?

an gcuirfeá? (GIR-faw*), would you put?

an gcuirfeadh sé? (GIR-huhk*), would he put?

an gcuirfeadh sí?, would she put?

an gcuirfimis? (GIR-hi-mish), would we put?

an gcuirfeadh sibh?, would you-all put?

an gcuirfidís? (GIR-hi-deesh), would they put?

an gcuirfí? (GIR-fee), would people put?

For the verb “cas”:

an gcasfainn? (GAHS-hin), would I turn?

an gcasfá? (GAHS-faw*), would you turn?

an gcasfadh sé? (GAHS-huhk*), would he turn?

an gcasfadh sí?, would she turn?

an gcasfaimis? (GAHS-hi-mish), would we turn?

an gcasfadh sibh?, would you-all turn?

an gcasfaidís? (GAHS-hi-deesh), would they turn?

an gcasfaí? (GAHS-fwee), would people turn?

Example: An gcuirfeá an t-airgead sa bhanc, dá mbeadh am go leor agat?; Would you put the money in the bank, if you had (enough) time?

The negative question is:

Nach gcuirfinn? Nach gcuirfeá? Nach gcuirfeadh sé? Nach gcuirfeadh sí? Wouldn’t I put?, wouldn’t you put?, etc.

Nach gcuirfimis? Nach gcuirfeadh sibh? Nach gcuirfidís? Nach gcuirfí? Wouldn’t we put?, wouldn’t you-all put? wouldn’t they put?, wouldn’t people put?

For “cas”, the negative question is:

Nach gcasfainn? Nach gcasfá? Nach gcasfadh sé? Nach gcasfaí? Wouldn’t I turn?, wouldn’t you turn?, wouldn’t he turn? wouldn’t people turn?

“Dá” and “mura” also cause eclipsis:

Dá gcuirfinn (daw* GIR-hin), if I should put, etc.

Dá gcasfainn (daw* GAHS-hin), if I should turn, etc.

Mura gcuirfinn, if I were not to put, etc.

Mura gcasfainn, if I were not to turn, etc.

If the verb begins with a vowel, minor differences occur. Examples, with which you will become familiar during later exercises, are:

D’ólfadh sé é (DOHL-huhk* shay* ay*), he would drink it. Nach n-ólfadh sé?, wouldn’t he drink? Dá n-ólfadh sé, if he were to drink. Mura n-ólfadh sé, if he were not to drink.

If the verb begins with an “f”, a “d” precedes it in the declarative, which is the simplest form:

D’fhágfainn é (DAW*K-hin ay*), I would leave it. D’fheicfeadh sé é (DEK-huhk* shay* ay*), he would see it.


Visualize the verb meaning and who the subject is (I, you, Ciaran, etc.) for these phrases:

Má bhris sé é. Chreidfeá é. Mura n-ólfaidís (NOHL-hi-deesh) é. Dá bpógfainn (BOHK-hin) í. Mura mbeimid ann. Ní stadfadh (STAHT-huh) Séamas. An scuabfaidh (SKOOP-hee) sibh é? Nach líonfá é? Mura gcuireann Mairsile (MAHR-shil-e) sa chistin (HYISH-tin) é. Dá mbearrfaimis (MYAHR-hi-mish) sinn féin.

Key: If he broke it. You would believe him. If they were not to drink it. If I were to kiss her. If we won’t be there. Séamas wouldn’t stop. Will you-all brush it? Wouldn’t you fill it? If Mairsile doesn’t put it in the kitchen. If we were to shave (ourselves).

Each of the phrases is one-half of a complete condition and result, such as: Mura n-ólfaidís é, bheadh tart orthu; if they were not to drink it, they would be thirsty.

Up to now, the many forms for the conditional have called for heavy repetitive drilling. The conditional form or mood is very important in Irish, however, and must be mastered if you are to be able to express yourself accurately, understand others, and get the meaning from what you read.

You still need to learn the second conjugation’s conditional, and the conditional for “is” and for some of the irregular verbs. After that, there will be intensive conversations and reading exercises to help you become fluent in the modh coinníollach.

©1999 The Irish People

Irish Lesson 103 | Irish Lesson 105

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