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Past Tense

Affirmative Statements

In making the past tense, all changes are made at the beginning of the verb. Start with the basic verb and:

1. Séimhiú (add an "h" after) an initial consonant if it is a [B, C, D, F*, G, M, P] or [T]. (In other words, all consonants except L, N, R and sometimes S.) Séimhiú (add an "h" after) an initial [S] only if the following letter is a vowel or an [L, N or R]. Otherwise, leave an initial S unchanged. An initial L, N or R remains unchanged. Add [D'] before an initial vowel or an initial [F*].

Negative Statements and Questions

Negative statements and questions in the past tense are made by adding the appropriate "verbal particle" before the basic verb, as follows:

Ar:     Direct Questions

Níor:  Negative Statements

Nár:   Negative Questions

Once the verbal particle has been added before the verb, the basic verb will change (if at all) exactly as in the affirmative statement form, with one exception. Once the verbal particle has been added, "D" is no longer needed before verbs starting with a vowel or an initial F.



* Note: When F takes a séimhiú it becomes silent so that the first sound heard in the verb is the following vowel. Because of this, "D'" is added before "fh" as though the verb started with a vowel.


** Note also: Letters in square brackets, e.g., "[C-I-L]" are keys to the linked examples.