The verb “is” has its own form for relative clauses. The simplest form relies on “is” and “nach” to connect the clauses in the present tense. Read these examples aloud several times to form an idea of this:
Cuir ort hata is maith leat, put on a hat that you like.
Cuir ort an hata is fearr leat, put on the hat you prefer.
Cuir ar an mbord an gloine (GLIN-e) nach maith leis, put the glass he doesn’t like on the table.
Is é sin an fear is múinteoir sa scoil lán-Ghaelach, that’s the man who is a teacher in the all-Irish school.
Is ceacht é nach fadhb mhór dom, it is a lesson that isn’t a big problem for me.
Is casúr é sin nach cúis náire duit, that’s a hammer that’s not a (source of/cause of) disgrace to you.
For an aimsir chaite agus an modh coinníollach, the past tense and conditional mood, “ba” (or “ab”) and “nár” are the words connecting the clauses. These words cause aspiration of consonants following them.
Examples of an aimsir chaite:
Chuir sí uirthi an hata ba mhaith léi, she put on the hat she liked.
Chaith Nóirín amach an tolg nár mhaith liom, Nóirín threw out the sofa that I didn’t like.
Fuair Annraoi (AHN-ree) an ceann ab fhearr leat, Annraoi got the one that you preferred.
Ba é Brian an fear ba láidre sa tír, Brian was the man who was the strongest in the country (the strongest man in the country).
Ba chasúr é sin nár chúis náire do Chiarán, that was a hammer that wasn’t a disgrace to Ciarán.
Ba í sin an cailín ab airde sa rang, that was the tallest girl in the class.
Examples of an Modh Coinníollach:
Thabharfainn é don fheirmeoir ba bhoichte (VWIK*-te) sa cheantar, dá mbeadh sé agam; I would give it to the farmer who would be the poorest in the district, if I had it.
Bheinn ar mo mhúinteoir ar fhearr sa scoil dá gcuirfinn suim (sim) i m’obair, I would be the best teacher in the school if I took interest in my work.
For the dative and genitive cases (an tuiseal tabharthach agus an tuiseal ginideach) in the present tense, the connecting words are “ar” (“arb” before a vowel) and “nach”, without aspiration of a following consonant.
Examples with the dative:
Is é seo an fear ar leis an carr sin, this is the man to whom that car belongs.
Is í sin an bhean arb ainm léi Nóra, that’s the woman whose name is Nora.
D’fhill mé leis an bhfear nach leis an carr sin, I returned with the man whose car that isn’t (who doesn’t own that car).
With the Genitive:
Thug mé é don fhear ar múinteoir a mhac, I gave it to the man whose son is a teacher.
Is é seo an dochtúir arb aoi a bhean, this is the doctor whose wife is a guest.
Is í sin an bhean arb é a mac a bhí ann inné, that’s the woman whose son it was who was there yesterday.
D’fhan mé leis an mbuachail nach scoláire a dheirfiúr (yri-FOOR), I waited for the lad whose sister is not a student.
In the past tense and the conditional, the dative and genitive forms require “ar” and “nár” if the next word begins with a consonant or with an “f” followed by a consonant. “Ar” and “nár” cause aspiration of the initial consonant. The words “arbh” (ER-ruhv) and “nárbh” (NAW*R-ruhv) connect the clauses if the next word begins with a vowel or an “f” followed by a vowel.
Examples of the Dative in the Aimsir Chaite Agus Modh Coinníollach::
Ba dochtúir é ar mhian leis bád seoil a cheannach, he was a doctor who wished to buy a sailboat.
Ba dochtúir í nár mhian léi bheith ina cónaí anseo, she was a doctor who did not wish to be living here.
Chonaic mé fear arbh áil leis dul ag obair, I saw a man who wanted to go to work.
Ba scoláire í nár mhaith léi bheith déanach, she was a student who didn’t like to be late.
Examples of the Genitive in the Aimsir Chaite Agus Modh Coinníollach:
Ba é sin an fear ar mhian lena athair fanacht anseo, that was the man whose father wanted to stay here.
Nár chuir sé sa seomra eile an páiste nárbh áil lena mháthair dul abhaile?, Didn’t he put into the other room the child whose mother didn’t want to go home?
D’fheicfeá an cailín arbh áil a hathair teach eile a cheannach, you would see the girl whose father would want to buy another house.
This word, meaning “off” or “of”, is part of several common expressions:
de ghnáth (de GNAW*), usually
de ló is d’oíche (de loh is DEE-he), day and night
de ghlanmheabhair (de gluhn-VYOU-ir), by heart (in memorizing)
Fuair sé bás den ocras, he died of hunger.
In addition, you can be “buíoch dí”, grateful to her, or “buíoch diot”, grateful to you, or “buíoch de Mháire”, grateful to Mháire.
Bheinn cinnte de, dá ndéarfadh sé é; I would be certain of it if he were to say it.
“de” is useful in expressing partial amounts. A part or piece of the bread is “píosa den arán”. (“A piece of bread”, however, is “píosa aráin”, with “aráin” in the genitive case.)
Bain diot do chóta, take off your coat.
Fiafraigh diom, ask me (literally, ask of me).
Jumping from and falling from involve “de”. Thit sé den teach, he fell off the house. Léimfidh sé den droichead, he will jump off the bridge.
If some person or object exceeds another by some measurement, the “de” is useful:
Tá Séamas níos airde ná Tomás de dhá orlach, Séamas is taller than Tomás by two inches.
Bheadh an loch níba dhoimhne (GIV-ne) ná an abhainn (OU-in) de naoi dtroith (dri), dá romhrófaí amach é; the lake would be deeper than the river by nine feet if it were to be dug out.
Return to Lesson Index