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Habitual Past Tense

AIMSIR GHNÁTHCHAITE - BRIATHRA RIALTA

Affirmative Statements

In making affirmative statements in the habitual past, changes are made at both the beginning and the end of the verb. The changes made at the beginning of the verb are the same as in the past tense. (See previous lesson on the Past Tense.) First, identify the root of the verb as follows:

1. For the majority of the First Conjugation (usually one syllable) verbs, the entire verb is the root. [B-F-G-O-P-R-S1-S2] An exception is when the verb ends in "igh." In that case, if there is an accented vowel immediately before the "igh," simply drop the "igh" to expose the root. In all other cases, delete the "igh" and replace it with an "í". [N] Also, be aware that there are a few two syllable verbs in the First Conjugation which maintain two syllables in the root. [T]

2. For the Second Conjugation (usually multi-syllable) verbs, part or all of the end of the verb is generally removed to reveal the root. Whenever these verbs end in "(a)igh" (the most common type), simply drop that syllable. [A-D-E-M-S3-U] In most other cases, squeeze the vowels out of the last syllable and tack the remaining consonant(s) onto the end of the first syllable. For example, with the verb "codail," squeeze the "ai" out of the second syllable and add the remaining "l" to the end of the first syllable to make the root "codl..." [C-I-L]

Second, to the root add these endings:

1) For First Conjugation verbs, add:

If last vowel in root is 'e' or 'i'     a', 'o' or 'u'
  I would... ...inn     ...ainn
  You (singular) would... ...teá     ...tá
  *He/She/We/You (pl.) would*... ...eadh     ...adh
  They would... ...idís     ...aidís

2) For Second Conjugation verbs, add:

If last vowel in root is 'e' or 'i'     a', 'o' or 'u'
  I would... ...ínn     ...aínn
  You (singular) would... ...íteá     ...aíteá
  *He/She/We/You (pl.) would*... ...íodh     ...aíodh
  They would... ...ídís     ...aídís

Negative Statements and Questions

Negative Statements and Questions are constructed in the habitual past tense by making these changes to the affirmative statement form:

  • 1) Negative Statements - Add "" before the verb, and séimhiú (lenite) the initial consonant in the verb where possible.
  • 2) Direct Questions - Add "An" before the verb, and úrú (eclipse) the initial consonant in the verb where possible.
  • 3) Negative Questions - Add "Nach" before the verb, and úrú (eclipse) the initial consonant in the verb where possible.If the verb begins in a vowel, add "n-" in front of the vowel.

 

Samplaí
(Examples)

 


*Note: These endings are followed by specific pronouns (sé, sí, muid and sibh) or by personal names. The rest are combined forms and the pronoun is dropped. Example: "Bhuailinn" (I used to strike) already contains the subject.

 


**Note: Letters in square brackets, e.g., "[A]" are keys to the linked examples.