The last part of the aimsir ghnáthchaite or past habitual tense concerns the irregular verbs. In every one of these, the aimsir ghnáthchaite derives directly from the present tense, with the changes you are familiar with for first-conjugation verbs, such as dún or caith.
Tar has tagaim for “I come”. “I used to come” is thagainn. The rest of the forms are: thagtá, thagadh sé/sí, thagaimis, thagadh sibh, thagadís, thagtaí. The negative begins with ní thagainn. The questions begin with: an dtagainn? nach dtagainn?
For the other briathra neamhrialta:
Téim, I go. Théinn (HAY*-in), I used to go, théití, people used to go.
Feicim, I see. D’fheicinn (DEK-in), I used to see, d’fheictí, people used to see.
Cloisim, I hear. Chloisinn (K*LISH-in), I used to hear, chloistí, people used to hear.
Deirim, I say. Deirinn (DER-in), I used to say, deirtí, people used to say.
Déanim, I do. Dhéanainn (YAY*N-in), I used to do, dhéantaí, people used to do.
Beirim air, I seize him. Bheirinn air, I used to seize him, bheirtí air, people used to seize him.
Faighim, I get. D’fhaighainn (DEYE-in), I used to get, d’fhaightí (DEYE-tee), people used to get.
Tugaim, I give. Thugainn (HUG-in), I used to give, thugtaí, people used to give.
Ithim (i-him), I eat. D’ithinn (di-hin), I used to eat, d’ití, people used to eat.
Léigh na habairtí seo leanas (LAN-uhs) agus cum pictiúr i d’intinn faoin ghníomh agus faoin ghníomhaire. Read the following sentences and form a picture in your mind of the action and of the agent.
Sílim go dtéití ann sa samhradh. Ní bhfaighinn airgead roimh (rev) an Aoine. Thagadh sé abhaile tar éis an chluiche (K*LI-he). Nach n-ithidís íasc? An dtugadh sibh seanleabhair don ospidéal? Chloistí go minic é sin. Cloisim go bhfeicteá an múinteoir ar an traein. Deireadh sí a paidreacha roimh a naoi a chlog. Dhéanamis bábóga sa mhonarcha sin.
Key: I think that people used to go there in the summer. I didn’t used to get money before Friday. He used to come home after the game. Didn’t they used to eat fish? Did you-all used to give old books to the hospital? That used to be heard often. I hear that you used to see the teacher on the train. She used to say her prayers before nine o’clock. We used to make dolls in that factory.
In Irish, as in every language, there are special ways of expressing ideas that employ prepositions. For example, in English, relying on someone may become “counting on him”. Or a person may “live off” someone else.
“Ar” (er) means “on” most of the time, but it has other meanings. Here are some examples of idiomatic use. Several you may have met already.
Tá áthas (AW*-huhs) orm, I am happy. Cloisim go mbíodh áthas ar Sheán, I hear that Seán used to be happy.
Tá fearg (FAR-ruhg) air, he is angry. Bheadh fearg ar Mháire, dá mbeadh an bus mall, Mary would be angry if the bus were late.
Tá brón air, he is sad. Beidh brón ar Sheán, Seán will be sad.
Tá náire (NAW*-re) air, he is ashamed. Bhí náire ar a iníon, his daughter was ashamed.
Tá amhras (OU-ruhs) air, he is doubtful. Bíonn amhras ar mo mháthair, my mother is always doubtful.
Tá ionadh (OON-uh) air, he is surprised. Bheadh ionadh ar ár n-athair dá bhfeicfeadh sé é seo, our father would be surprised if he saw this.
Often, the reason for the emotion must be added, to tell what has caused it. With the expressions above, except for “fearg”, the word faoi (fwee), meaning “under” follows. Examples:
Tá áthas orm faoin mbronntanas seo, I am happy about this present.
An bhfuil brón ort faoi do mhadra?, are you sad about your dog?
Bheadh amhras orm faoin droichead sin, I used to be doubtful about that bridge, I used to have doubts about that bridge.
An mbeidh ionadh ort faoin bpraghas? (breyes), Will you be surprised at the price?
With fearg, a person is angry “with” something or someone. For example: Bhí fearg orm le Nóra, I was angry at (with) Nóra.
To speak about fear, this is the form: Tá eagla (AH-gluh) orm. Another form is: Tá faitíos (FWAH-tees) orm. In Irish, one is afraid “before” rather than “at”. Tá eagla orm roimh (rev) an mbus, I am afraid of the bus, the bus frightens me. Tá eagla orthu roimhe (REV-e). They are afraid of him.
The forms for roimh with the pronouns are:
romham (ROH-uhm), before me
romhat (ROH-uht), before you
roimhe (REV-e), before him
roimpi (REM-pee), before her
romhainn (ROH-in), before us
romhaibh (ROH-iv), before you-all
rompu (ROHM-puh), before them
When more explanation is needed, a sentence such as: Tá eagla orm go bhfuil an doras dúnta, I’m afraid that the door is closed, is typical.
Not as close to English are:
Tá bród orm as mo mhac, I am proud of my son. In Irish, you are proud “out of”, rather than “of”.
For jealousy, the difference is even greater. Tá éad orm leat, I am jealous of you. Bhíodh éad air le Séamas, he used to be jealous of Séamas.
Feictear dom go bhfuil amhras ar an ndochtúir faoin othar (OH-huhr) sin. It seems to me that the doctor has doubts about that patient.
Bheadh áthas ar gach duine faoin aimsir, dá mbeadh an ghrian amuigh. Everyone would be happy about the weather if the sun were out.
Beidh náire ort faoi do mhadra, you will be ashamed of your dog.
Nach mbíodh eagla ort roimh eitilt (E-tilt)? Didn’t you used to be afraid of flying?
Bhí brón ar na héisteoirí faoi bhás an cheoltóra sin. The listeners were sad over the death of that musician.
Tá fearg orm le Dóirín. Chuirfeadh sí fearg ar dhuine ar bith. I am angry at Dórín. She would make anyone angry (put anger on anyone).
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