D’éireoinn níos moiche maidin amárach, dá mbeadh orm bheith ag obair. (deye-ROH-in; MWI-he)
Ghoidfí d’airgead, mura gcuirfeá in áit shábháilte é. (huh-VWAW*-il-te)
Deir sé go bhfreagróidh sé an cheist tar éis an chruinniú.
Beidh an leanbh ina luí roimh a sé a chlog.
Nach n-ullmhaítear an bia amuigh sa chistin?
Is é sin an cárta a chaill mé anuraidh.
Key: I would get up earlier tomorrow morning if I had to be at work. Your money would be stolen if you didn’t put it in a safe place. He says that he will answer the question after the meeting. The child will be in bed before six o’clock. Isn’t the food prepared out in the kitchen? That’s the card I lost last year.
In English, there is a readily understood difference between “I closed the window” and “I used to close the window”. The former sentence indicates a single specific action. The latter sentence tells us that there was a series of closings over a time span – the closings were repeated or “habitual”.
In English, some other verb must precede “close” to tell the listener that the action was repeated or habitual. “Used to” and “was wont to” are two of these auxiliary verbs.
In Irish, on the other hand, each verb has its own forms to express the “past habitual” or gnáthchaite (gnaw*-K*AH-tye). These forms resemble an modh coinníollach, so care is necessary in pronouncing them and understanding them in speech.
Read this series over carefully, picturing the action and who is doing it in each sentence:
díol (deel), sell
dhíolainn (YEEL-in), I used to sell
dhíoltá (YEEL-taw*), you used to sell
dhíoladh sé (YEEL-UHK* shay), he used to sell
dhíoladh sí, she used to sell
dhíolaimis (YEEL-i-mish), we used to sell
dhíoladh sibh (shiv), you-all used to sell
dhíolaidís (YEEL-i-deesh), they used to sell
dhíoltaí (YEEL-tee), it used to be sold, people used to sell it
The negative forms for this begin with:
ní dhíolainn, I didn’t used to sell
For questions, the forms begin with:
an ndíolainn? (un neel-in), did I used to sell? and for the negative question: nach ndíolainn? (nahk* neel-in), didn’t I used to sell?
To familiarize yourself with this tense, say aloud all 32 forms for each of these verbs: déan, do; and las, light. Note that déan, although irregular in many tenses, is regular in the past habitual.
The first and eighth forms for each are: dhéanainn (YAY*N-in), dhéantaí (YAY*N-tee); lasainn (LAHS-in), lastaí (LAHS-tee).
Díol, déan, and las all end in a broad consonant. If a verb ends in a slender consonant, the spelling and pronunciation of the final syllable can change slightly. An example:
Chuirinn (K*IR-in), I used to put, chuirteá, chuireadh sé, chuireadh sí, chuirimis, chuireadh sibh, chuiridís, chuirtí.
If the verb begins with a vowel or an “f”, then “d’” preceded the declarative form:
d’ólainn (DOH-lin), d’óltá ; ending with d’óltaí, people used to drink.
d’éistinn (DAY*SH-tin), d’éisteá ; ending with d’éistí, people used to listen.
d’fhanainn (DAHN-in), d’fhantá ; ending with d’fhantaí, people used to wait.
If the verb begins with a vowel, the negative question in the past habitual begins with “nach n-”, as in:
nach n-ólainn? (nahk* NOH-lin), didn’t I used to drink?, and ending with nach n-óltaí?
nach n-éistinn?, nach n-éisteá?, and ending with nach n-éistí?, didn’t people used to listen?
The following Irish sentences have either the past habitual or the conditional form of the verb. Picture in your mind whether the action actually used to occur in the past or is only an imagined condition.
Léimeadh sé trasna an chlóis. Chloisfinn é. Mholaimis na leanaí (LAN-ee). Dhoirtidís an bainne amach. Chrochadh sí a cóta suas. Chnagfainn (K*NAHK-hin) ar an doras. Dhúntaí an geata ar a deich a chlog. D’ólfá é. Ní cheapaimis é sin. Mhúintí anseo é sin. Nach mbrisfí é?
Key: He used to jump across the yard. I would hear him. We used to praise the children. They used to pour out the milk. She used to hang up her coat. I would knock on the door. The gate used to be closed at ten o’clock. You would drink it. We didn’t used to think that. That used to be taught here. Wouldn’t it be broken?
Here are more adjectives:
leictreach (LEK-trahk*), electric. Solas leictreach; electric light.
breise (BRESH-e), extra. Cóip bhreise, an extra copy; ceann breise, an extra one.
tais (tash), damp. Seomra tais, a damp room; urláir thaise, damp floors.
ámharach (AW*-vwuhr-ahk*), lucky. Daoine ámharacha, lucky persons.
mí-ámharach (mee-AW*-vwuhr-ahk*), unlucky. Capall mí-ámharach, an unlucky horse.
cúng (koong), narrow. Bóithre cúnga, narrow roads.
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