The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2002 (January-June) » A few grammar questions, más é do thoil é « Previous Next »

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Lisa ORourke ( -
Posted on Monday, March 25, 2002 - 08:33 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hi, We have just started the third Buntús Cainte book here in Akron, and naturally, a few questions have arisen. In #131, this statement, Ba cheart duit Cáit a thabhairt isteach le haghaidh cupán tae tar éis di siul abhaile leat.
Why the di?
The next is from #132. An créatúr! Ar gortaiodh go donaí?
What is the form of the verb? We thought that it was command form, but then didn't know why it was there.
Also, does anyone know if there are rules as to why and when to use ag versus ar. We know the main ones, but there seems to be some mixing when it refers to going to a place especially. Thank you so much for your time and input, we really appreciate it. Lisa

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Seosamh ( -
Posted on Tuesday, March 26, 2002 - 09:51 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

1. 'Tar éis' means 'after': You should bring Cáit in for a cup of tea after she came home with you. Or less literally, in this case: 'since she has come home with you'.

Compound prepositional phrases like 'tar éis' don't take a plain, unadorned noun or pronoun. That's because the main part of such phrases are themselves nouns, at least originally. In the case of a following noun, it would be put into the genitive case:

tar éis dinnéir/lóin/bricfeasta/suipéir/an chéilí/an chruinnithe

after dinner/lunch/breakfast/supper/the céilí/the meeting

'I ndiaidh', another compound preposition with the same meaning, could be substituted.

There is no genitive for pronouns. Usually the nominal component of the preposition would be preceded by the appropriate possessive pronoun with any applicable mutation:

Masculine example:

i ndiaidh an chruinnithe > ina dhiaidh
after the meeting > after it


i ndiaidh na ceolchoirme > ina diaidh
after the music concert > after it

Plural of either gender:

i ndiaidh na gceachtanna > ina ndiaidh
after the lessons > after them

Now this does not have much to do with your example -- although 'tar éis' sometimes behaves like 'i ndiaidh' with pronoun elements too: tar a éis sin (after that); tar m'éis (after me).

Learn your example above as a sentence pattern that comes into play when 'tar éis' is followed by a clause that has a pronominal subject:

tar éis titim dó after he fell (or, tar éis dó titim)
tar éis dúinn teacht i dtír after we landed (on shore)
tar éis éirí ar maidin duit after you get/got up in the morning

Forms of 'do' are often used when 'when', 'while' or 'during' are being indicated: Ag teacht abhaile dom When I came/come home; ar imeacht dó when he left.

2. An créatúr! Ar gortaíodh go dona í?
The [poor] creature/thing! Was she hurt badly?

This is the autonomous verb (an saorbhriathar) in the past tense. It is often translated by the passive in English.

3. As to 'ag' versus 'ar': 'Ar' can be followed by just about any verb in the above construction with forms of 'do'. But 'ag' usually precedes verbal nouns when the equivalent in English is the progressive tense: Tá siad ag imeacht. They are leaving, going off. (Lit., they are at leaving.)

But verbal nouns will follow 'ar' too. In that case, it usually indicates state, not motion (and is not lenited): Tá an teach ar díol. The house is for sale. Tá an bhratach ar foluain/ar crochadh sa ghaoth. The flag is fluttering in the wind.

I hope this is useful.

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olisa ( -
Posted on Tuesday, March 26, 2002 - 10:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Céad mille go raibh maith agat! We would be lost without your generosity! Lisa

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James ( -
Posted on Tuesday, March 26, 2002 - 10:45 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

You people AMAZE me!! Would that I could be so fluent in "grammar-ese." Seosamh, you are a linguistic icon as far as I'm concerned. I stand in complete awe. One day, with God's grace, I'll understand what in the heck it is all that stuff means!!

Seriously, thanks for your dedication to this site. You have NO idea how much help you and your counterparts are to we neophytes.

Go raibh cead mile maith agat.

Le meas,


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Ó Dúill ( -
Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 - 01:37 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

James that too blows my mind!
Seosamh an Dia, beagnach *gáire*

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Seosamh ( -
Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 - 03:44 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Go raibh maith agaibh. Is iontach mar a mholtar duine a bhfuil tuigbheail éigin aige ar ghramadach na teanga.

"Grammar God" is what learners in the ANE (Atlantic North East [U.S.]) call anyone who has a decent grasp of Irish grammar. Now that I have been called a "linguistic icon", I hope the other gods are not going to be jealous. (Remember your mythology.) Native speakers like Pádraig and Leo in PA must be either laughing or revolted by this.

Actually, people like Seosamh Mac M. and Dennis can put things into the broadest and deepest context. Fortunately, there are usually people here and the Gaelic-B list who can give more detailed answers than people actually need. One hopeful sign for the language. I'm not that up on the current, correct grammarese as some of these others. If I went off track above, in fact, I hope S. or D. or Seosaimhín, etc. will speak up and not let it slide.

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